Global Efficiency of Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is one of the most sustainable sources of energy. It originates from sunlight and continues to be in one of the form of biomass in a system. The key to the system's sustainability lies in its energy balance. Here is where natural sources of biomass and non-biomass must be distinguished from non-natural, non-characteristic, industrially synthesized sources of non-biomass.

Figure 10.8 Global Efficiency of Hydroelectricify to Electric Stove.

In the same way that sunlight photosynthesizes plant material into living material (as opposed to fluorescent lighting that would freeze that process), synthetic, naturally non-characteristic non-biomass can never convert natural non-biomass into biomass, no matter how much solar energy is available anywhere in the system.

In Figure 10.9, the atmosphere acts as a bioreactor, along the outlines of the figure, and does not and will not enable the conversion of synthetic non-biomass into biomass. The key problem of mass

Sustainable Pathway

Plants

Soil/sand

Plastic

Bioreactor

Microbe converts to biomass or

Non-biomass

Non-biomass

Figure 10.9 Sustainable pathway for material substance in the environment.

balance in the atmosphere, as in the entire natural environment of the earth as a whole, is laid out in Figure 10.10. The accumulation rate of synthetic non-biomass continually threatens to overwhelm the natural capacities of the environment to use or absorb such material. Hence, such analysis could form the basis of calculating the global efficiency of biomass combustion technologies.

It is conventionally reported that combustion of wood in traditional stoves has relatively low efficiency in the ranges of 10-15% (Shastri et al. 2002). While efforts have been made to improve on this efficiency, most authors missed the most important point regarding this efficiency analysis. The traditional efficiency calculation is based on the local efficiency considering only the fuel input and heat output in the system itself. This method does not consider the utilization of byproducts such as, the fresh COz which is essential for the plant photosynthesis, use of exhaust heat for household water heating using a heat exchanger, use of ash as surfactant for enhanced oil recovery, fertilizer and good sources of natural minerals such silica, potassium, sodium, calcium, and others. This analysis is typical of modern engineering calculations that fail to include factors beyond those with immediate implications. In Chapter 7,

Pathway of natural and synthetic material

Biomass

Pathway of natural and synthetic material

Natural non-biomass ) (convertible to biomass eg by sun light)

DDT, Freon, Plastic, (synthetic non-biomass inconvertible to biomass)

Figure 10.10 Synthetic non-biomass that cannot be converted into biomass will accumulate far faster than naturally sourced non-biomass, which potentially can be converted to biomass.

Biomass

Natural non-biomass ) (convertible to biomass eg by sun light)

Non-non-biomass

Non-Biomass

DDT, Freon, Plastic, (synthetic non-biomass inconvertible to biomass)

Figure 10.10 Synthetic non-biomass that cannot be converted into biomass will accumulate far faster than naturally sourced non-biomass, which potentially can be converted to biomass.

Energy

(cooking and heating)

Heat from exhaust

(water heating)

(photosynthesis)

Particulates

Zero waste

Green Input

Figure 10.11 Pictorial view of zero-waste models for wood stove.

several stove designs have been proposed. Figure 10.11 is the pictorial representation of a zero-waste stove model. In the figure four rectangular boxes represent the outputs from the stove, which are energy, C02, particulates and heat from exhaust gas. To make this stove sustainable these outputs should be completely utilized. Indeed, the output of this system will be the input for others. In Chapter 7, it has been shown that most wastes will be utilized. If that is the case, the global efficiency of the process increases dramatically. In addition, the benefit of creating pollutant-free C02 is immense. It has been established in previous analysis that major source of C02 pollution is the array of heavy metals and other chemicals that are used during petroleum processing.

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Guide to Alternative Fuels

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