Department of AdditIonal Sources of Energy, Government of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh New & Renewable Energy Development Agency


What is Bio Energy

Bioenergy is energy contained in living or recently living biological organisms, a definition which specifically excludes fossil fuels. Plants get bioenergy through photosynthesis, and animals get it by consuming plants. Organic material containing bioenergy is known as biomass. Humans can use this biomass in many different ways, through something as simple as burning wood for heat, or as complex as genetically modifying bacteria to create cellulosic ethanol. Since almost all bioenergy can be traced back to energy from sunlight, bioenergy has the major advantage of being a renewable energy source. However, it is important that bioenergy be harnessed in a sustainable fashion.

Bioenergy is the most widely used form of renewable energy in the world.  Used in every country for centuries, bioenergy currently provides over 15% of the world's energy supply.Bioenergy is derived by harnessing the energy flows gathered by nature's solar collectors. It is this natural storage capacity of organic life that differentiates bioenergy from other types of renewable energy.

Bio Energy technology applications:

  1. Biofuels

    Converting biomass into liquid fuels for transportation.Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels - biofuels - for our transportation needs (cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, and trains). The two most common types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel.

    Biodiesel is made by combining alcohol (usually methanol) with vegetable oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking greases. It can be used as an additive to reduce vehicle emissions (typically 20%) or in its pure form as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines. Other biofuels include methanol and reformulated gasoline components. Methanol, commonly called wood alcohol, is currently produced from natural gas, but could also be produced from biomass. There are a number of ways to convert biomass to methanol, but the most likely approach is gasification. Gasification involves vaporizing the biomass at high temperatures, then removing impurities from the hot gas and passing it through a catalyst, which converts it into methanol.

  2. Biopower

    Burning biomass directly, or converting it into a gaseous fuel or oil, to generate electricity.Biopower, or biomass power, is the use of biomass to generate electricity. There are six major types of biopower systems: direct-fired, cofiring, gasification, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, and small, modular.Most of the biopower plants in the world use direct-fired systems. They burn bioenergy feedstocks directly to produce steam. This steam is usually captured by a turbine, and a generator then converts it into electricity. In some industries, the steam from the power plant is also used for manufacturing processes or to heat buildings. These are known as combined heat and power facilities. For instance, wood waste is often used to produce both electricity and steam at paper mills.

    Many coal-fired power plants can use cofiring systems to significantly reduce emissions, especially sulfur dioxide emissions. Cofiring involves using bioenergy feedstocks as a supplementary energy source in high efficiency boilers. Gasification systems use high temperatures and an oxygen-starved environment to convert biomass into a gas (a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane). The gas fuels what's called a gas turbine, which is very much like a jet engine, only it turns an electric generator instead of propelling a jet.

  3. Bioproducts

    Converting biomass into chemicals for making products that typically are made from petroleum.Whatever products we can make from fossil fuels, we can make using biomass. These bioproducts, or biobased products, are not only made from renewable sources, they also often require less energy to produce than petroleum-based products.Researchers have discovered that the process for making biofuels - releasing the sugars that make up starch and cellulose in plants - also can be used to make antifreeze, plastics, glues, artificial sweeteners, and gel for toothpaste.

    Other important building blocks for bioproducts include carbon monoxide and hydrogen. When biomass is heated with a small amount of oxygen present, these two gases are produced in abundance. Scientists call this mixture biosynthesis gas. Biosynthesis gas can be used to make plastics and acids, which can be used in making photographic films, textiles, and synthetic fabrics.When biomass is heated in the absence of oxygen, it forms pyrolysis oil. A chemical called phenol can be extracted from pyrolysis oil. Phenol is used to make wood adhesives, molded plastic, and foam insulation.

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