Energy / Examples /
Use Of Biomass
Use of biomass
Energy grass, Hungary
(report of visit by Phil Turner on 02/07/2006 of the European Rural University) Visit to the Agricultural Research Development Institute P.U.C. 5540 Szarvas, Savabadsag u. 30 firstname.lastname@example.org Full details and pictures are available at: http://www.energiafu.hu/nemesit_en.html
The Institute has extensive grass-breeding plots and demonstrates the ‘hayfield’ appearance of the landscape, methods of harvesting, pellet conversion and their conversion to energy by heat (including pellet heated boilers).
Traditional methods of grass cutting, as for hay and silage, may be utilised, as well as combine harvesters. This can mean that the existing or historic patterns of fields and hedges, walls or ditches can be maintained.
Perennial bunchgrass is the plant material. It thrives in dry conditions in sandy and szik soils (sodic alkaline) and can be cultivated in one place for 10 – 15 years without ploughing and sowing. After flowering, the grain crop is harvested (at the end of July, beginning of August in the Hungarian Great Plain, after the early July corn harvest).
For energy conversion the grain can be baled, made into briquets,or, preferably, made into ‘grasspellets’. Furnaces can be used to heat building spaces, heat can be used to refrigerate other farm produce or for crop-drying. Fermentation or pyrolisis can produce gas or electricity and there is potential for conversion to bio-alcohol to run auto engines.
As well as conversion of the grain (e.g. to solid fuel pellets), the grass residue may also be used for paper making, textiles or fibreboard, and grain and grass can be used for animal feed, thus allowing flexibility and diversity of use, rather than reliance on one market.
The Institute premises are restricted to investment in agricultural research and that has so far precluded a demonstration of the pellet conversion process. The key to success will rely on the proximity of the conversion plant to the growing areas, to avoid energy wasted in long distance transport.
However, it is evident that Energy Grass cultivation is possible by small farmers cooperating to manage a pellet machine, growing the grass on land formerly used for food or hay crops. Management and cropping undertaken by contractors is a possibility for retired farmers to consider. The pellet activity offers a pattern of work activity extended through the autumn and potentially to 300 days in each year. . It can be argued that energy grass cropping does less harm to the environment than farm woodland cropping for energy.
Denmark Denmark.dk: Official website - Denmark - Energy: an Overview
Biomass and waste are products which in the past had to be removed by burning, for instance, surplus straw or deposits on refuse dumps. The burning of fields and refuse dumps have virtually disappeared in Denmark. Unless required for farming purposes, straw is now used as fuel in district heating stations and decentralised combined heat and power plants, along with wood chip and combustible, non-recyclable waste. www.denmark.dk
Denmark District heating and natural gas
Most Danish consumers have access to energy distribution networks such as district heating and natural gas. Energy supply is today more efficient due to integration of heat and power and local district heating power plants are now being converted to combine heating and power production using natural gas, waste and bio fuels and industry is being encouraged to establish cogeneration.
The increased use of natural gas and renewable energy contributes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Denmark is a world leader in the utilisation of renewable energy. Individuals, companies and public institutions are continuously being encouraged to use energy more efficiently. http://www.danishexporters.dk/scripts/danishexporters/strongholds.asp?landekode=GB
Biofuels United Kingdom Biofuel crops pose no threat to UK food production Britain's farmers have the capacity to seize the new opportunities presented by the rapidly growing biofuels market without any adverse implications for food production, according to the NFU. In an analysis of the land that will be required to meet the Government's target of a 5 per cent inclusion of bioethanol and biodiesel in road transport fuel by 2010, the NFU has calculated around 900,000 hectares of land will be needed. However, that corresponds almost exactly to the 375,000 ha of land that is currently being used for the production of feed wheat surplus to UK domestic requirements, which has to be exported, plus the 559,000 ha of mandatory set-aside, most of which could be used to produce oilseed rape for biodiesel. This calculation takes into account the fact only part of the crop is used for biofuel production and around 2.4 million tonnes of so-called 'co-products' - distillers' grains from wheat and rape meal from oilseed - will be available for animal feed. The NFU paper 'UK biofuels - land required to meet RTFO 2010' goes on to argue that technological advances in the production of biofuels will allow output to be stepped up still further, without compromising food production capacity. It is calling on the Government to extend the existing Road Traffic Fuel Obligation targets to the EU target of 5.75 per cent by energy, which equates to 7.5 to 8 per cent by volume. NFU Vice-President Paul Temple said recent claims from multi-national food processors that growing crops for fuel would lead to food shortages and soaring prices were nothing more than scaremongering. © National Farmers' Union12 August 2006
Branches that would previously have been left to rot in logged forests are increasingly being collected and packed in bundles for transportation to bioenergy plants.
In the urgent search for renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels, Finland is leading the way in the field of bioenergy.
“Bioenergy is Finland’s main renewable energy option,” says Martti Äijälä, Technology Director for Energy and Environment at Tekes. “Thanks to the widespread use of wood-based fuels – from simple firewood and logging residues to black liquors and other by-products of papermaking processes –about a fifth of the country’s energy supply is already generated from biomass, compared to the EU average of about 3 per cent.”
Europe looks to bioenergy
The EU aims to double the share of renewable energy sources in Europe’s energy mix by 2010. A Bioenergy Network of Excellence (NoE?) has been set up to co-ordinate research and development in Europe, led by Finland’s VTT Processes. The NoE? aims to overcome technical and socio-economic barriers to bioenergy, while finding new ways to use different kinds of biomass.
Biofuel from wastes
One important source of bioenergy widely exploited in Finland is logging residues consisting of branches and needles collected from the forests, packed into tight bundles, and transported to power plants. “Finland’s forest industries already use solid biofuels efficiently, but the wider use of forest biomass to generate energy is still possible,” says Kai Sipilä of VTT Processes.
A new process that converts various types of household and construction wood wastes into biofuel gases and energy is currently being tested in a pilot plant at VTT’s research centre in Espoo.
The article as whole is publicised in the 2005 issue of the Views on Finnish Technology… http://www.tekes.fi/eng/news/uutis_tiedot.asp?id=3934
Biofuels Strategy, Brazil This South American Republic has a strategic intent for vehicles to be powered 90 per cent by non-oil-based fuels by 2010. Bio fuels for vehicles are already derived from sugar cane (Ethanol) and soya bean (Bio diesel). If cropped in great areas, there is concern about land use (competing with food production), biodiversity (Rain Forest reduction) and other landscape impact. In addition, the reduction in CO2 emissions by Ethanol use may not be significant.