Biofuel and Biomass

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Biomass & Biofuel

Biomass & Biofuel: The Future

Umaer Ahmed


Badgery, J.


Biomass & Biofuel: The Future

Biofuels are a recent development that has stemmed a great deal of research into the issue of alternative energy. The energy that we get from biofuels originally came from the sun. This solar energy was captured through photosynthesis by the plants used as feedstock (raw materials) for biofuel production, and stored in the plants’ cells. This energy-containing biomass is converted into biofuel through biochemical, chemical, and thermo chemical conversion processes. For example, ethanol, today’s largest volume of biofuel, is produced through a biochemical process. In this process, yeasts ferment sugar from starch and sugar crops into ethanol. Most ethanol is produced from sugar canes and cornstarch. Biochemical conversion techniques allow us to make use of more abundant “cellulosic” biomass sources such as grass, trees, and agricultural residues. A simpler chemical process used to produce a biofuel is the production of biodiesel. Biodiesel facilities start with vegetable oils, seed oils, or animal fats and reacts them with methanol/ethanol in the presence of a catalyst. Algae and plants can serve as a natural source of oil which refineries can convert into jet fuel or diesel fuel. Once the biomass has been converted into biofuel, the biofuel is used to generate electricity in the same way as other fuels. Biofuels are combusted and their energy is converted to heat. The heat is used to boil water in order to produce steam. Finally, the steam drives electrical turbines that produce electricity.

Biomass energy is the third largest source of Canada’s electricity generation. Its share in Canada’s electricity generation is 1.4%…...

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