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UNIT: 5

ENERGY FROM BIOMASS


Introduction

 Organic matter derived from biological organisms


(Plants, algae, animals etc.) are called Biomass. The energy
obtained from biomass is called Biomass energy
 Biomass energy resources are available from botanical
plants, vegetation, algae, animals and organisms living on
land or in water.
 There are three sources for biomass energy convesrion-
 1. Traditional source as a solid mass ( wood and
agricutural residue)
 2. Non-traditional source (biomass converted into liquid
fuels by pyrolysis and other thermochemical treatments)
 3. Animal wastes and aquatic plants ( fermented
anaerobicallly to obtain biogas)
Photosynthesis

 The process by which green plants harness (utilize) the energy


of the sun and build or produce organic compounds from
carbon dioxide and water is termed photosynthesis.
Photosynthetic oxygen production
 In green plants, Chloroplast utilizes the solar energy.
 This Chloroplast is the main source of photosynthesis activity
of the green cells.
 When light of appropriate wavelength is absorbed by the
Chloroplast, carbon dioxide is reduced to the level of sugar;
and a volume of gaseous oxygen is liberated which is equal to
CO2 utilized.
 Therefore, plants are important in the balance of nature,
because they produce food for other organisms and give to the
air the oxygen needed by most organisms for respiration .
 Photosynthesis is a complex process in which water and CO2
molecules are broken down in sun light and releases
carbohydrate and pure oxygen.
CO2 + H20 + sun light + chlorophyll ----> (H2CO)6+ O2
+chlorophyll
6CO2+ 12 H20 ---> C6H12O6 + 6H20 + 602
 The absorbed light is in the ultraviolet and infrared range,
The chlorophyll absorbs visible light and passes its energy on
to the water molecules and releases an hydrogen atom.
 The hydrogen atom thus produced reacts with CO2 molecule,
to produce H2CO and oxygen. At high temperature H2CO
breaks to release energy.
H2CO + O2 ---> CO2 + H20 +112 Kcal / mol of energy.
Mainly the photosynthesis consists of two steps:
1) Due to action of chlorophyll and sunlight, water molecule breaks in
to H2 and O2 . This phase is called light reaction in which solar energy
is converted in to potential chemical energy. The 02 escapes and H2
gets converted into some unknown compound.
2) This phase of reaction is called dark reaction which forms CO2 and
starch or sugar from unknown compound of H2 and does not require
sunlight.
 The condition for Photosynthesis are:-
 1. Light:
 2. CO2 Concentration:
 The main source of CO2 are:
 a) Animal respiration
 b) Combustion of fuel.
 c) Decay of organic matter
 3. Temperature
Biomass energy Sources

 Animal Wastes :-The important animal washes are cattle


dung, urine, goat and poultry dropping, waste from slaughter
houses, leather and wood wastes, and elephant dung.
 Human wastes:-sewage, human excreta, urine and other
wastes.
 Agricultural wastes:-sugar cane thrash, spoiled fodder,
bagasse, tobacco waste, coffee/tea plant wastes, cotton plant
wastes, etc.
 Industrial waste:-he main industrial wastes are resides
from sugar factories, tanneries, paper mills, sericulture
industries, food processing industries, etc
 Marine plants :-Water Hyacinth, algae and Ocean kelp etc.
CONVERSION OF BIOMASS INTO
USEFUL ENERGY
 Two basic techniques of biomass conversion into useful energy:

 Thermochemical Conversion:
 Basically this involves dry processes to convert biomass into
thermal energy. The methods used for conversion are pyrolysis,
liquefaction, gasification and hydrogenation.

 Biochemical Conversion:
 These are basically wet processes, involving either anaerobic
digestion or fermentation.
 Anaerobic digestion involves the microbial digestion of the biomass,
 while fermentation involves the breakdown of complex molecules
of organic compounds.
Thermochemical Process

 Pyrolysis:
 Gasification
 Combustion
 Liquefaction
 Steam Gasification
 Hydrogenation
Biochemical Conversion

Wet Method : These include biological methods of producing energy. Anaerobic digestion
and fermentation are two such processes.
Anaerobic Digestion:
 Anaerobic digestion is the microbial digestion of biomass in the absence of oxygen.
 An Anaerobic is a micro-organism that lives and grows without oxygen.
 The process takes place in the temperature range of 35 to 65°C, and about 80% moisture
is essential for the reaction to take place.
 The reaction releases mainly CO2 and CH2 (methane) with negligible impurities.
 Green plants, animal dung, sewage sludge, wood shavings, straw, etc., under go
anaerobic digestion.
Fermentation:
 Fermentation is the process of breaking down of complex molecules in the organic
compound in the presence of a ferment like yeast, bacteria, enzymes, etc.
 Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is produced by the fermentation.
 Generally, the fibrous residues from plant crops (like crushed sugar cane, fruits, etc) are
widely used.
 Cellulose material like wood, paper waste, straw, can also be subjected to fermentation.
By they required a pre-treatment with hot acid.
ANAEROBIC DIGESTION

 The treatment of any slurry or sludge containing a


large amount of organic matter, utilizing bacterial
and other microorganisms under anaerobic
condition(i.e., in the absence of oxygen) is called
Anaerobic Digestion.
 The anaerobic digestion or fermentation
consists of 3 phases:
1) Enzymatic Hydrolysis:
2) Acid Formation:
3) Methane fermentation:
 The anaerobic digestion is represented by the general
equation;
CxHyO2 + [ x-y/4 – z/2] H2O -------> [ x-y/8 + z/4] CO2 + [ x/2 +
y/8 – z/4] CH4

 For Cellulose,
(C6H10O5)n + nH2O -------> 3n CO2 + 3nCH4
Cont…

Advantages of anaerobic digestion :


 The anaerobic digestion produces biogas which has a calorific
value. Hence this gas could be successfully used to produce
steam or hot water.
 A smaller quantity of excess sludge is produced during
anaerobic digestion of organic matter.
 The running cost is very less when compared to equivalent
aerobic system.
 The odour is less.
 The use of biogas in industries reduces the consumption of
coal and also reduces air pollution.
 The nutrient requirement is less due to low production of
bacterial solids.
SOURCES OF BIOMASS FOR DIGESTION OR
MATERIALS USED FOR BIO-GAS GENERATION

 Animal Wastes :-The important animal washes are cattle


dung, urine, goat and poultry dropping, waste from slaughter
houses, leather and wood wastes, and elephant dung.
 Human wastes:-sewage, human excreta, urine and other
wastes.
 Agricultural wastes:-sugar cane thrash, spoiled fodder,
bagasse, tobacco waste, coffee/tea plant wastes, cotton plant
wastes, etc.
 Industrial waste:-he main industrial wastes are resides
from sugar factories, tanneries, paper mills, sericulture
industries, food processing industries, etc
 Marine plants :-Water Hyacinth, algae and Ocean kelp etc.
Classification of Bio-gas digester or Bio-gas Plants:-1

 Continuous types
 Single stage

 Double Stage

 2. Batch type
 3.The dome type or the drum types
 Floating gas holder (Floating Drum) or KVIC Model or Indian
design digester.
 Fixed dome type or Chinese model or Janatha model.

 4. Different variations in the drum type.


Continuous type bio-gas Plant:
Single stage Process
Continuous type bio-gas Plant:
Double Stage Process 1
Advantages of Continuous Plants:-
 The gas generation is continuous.
 The time required for digestion is minimum.
 The size of digesters is smaller.
 The gas generation problems are minimum.
 Double stage process is more efficient.
Batch type Biogas plants:
Dome type Biogas plant:-
Floating drum type biogas plant (Floating gas holder or KVIC Model
or Indian design digester).
Advantages and Disadvantages of floating Drum Digester

Advantages:
 It has less scum trouble.
 No separate pressure equalizing devices are required,
 In it the danger-of mixing oxygen with the gas to form an explosive
mixture is minimized.
 Higher gas production per m3 of the digester volume is achieved.
 No problem of gas leakage.
 Constant gas pressure.
Disadvantage:
 It has higher cost, as cost is dependent steel and cement.
 It has poor insulation against heat and hence it troubles in colder
regions and periods..
 Gas holder requires painting once or twice in a year.
 The overall maintenance cost of the plant is more compared to
fixed dome type.
Fixed dome type [ Chinese digester or Janata Model Biogas
Digester or Common Circular Fixed Dome Digester ],1, 2, 3
Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixed Dome Digester

Advantages:
 It has low cost compared to floating drum type.
 It has no corrosion problem.
 The plant is well insulated against the heat and hence
constant temperature can be maintained,
 Almost all bio mass can be fed.
 No maintenance.
Disadvantages:
 This plant construction requires skilled masons.
 Gas production per cum of the digester volume is less.
 Scum formation is problem no stirring arrangement.
 It has variable gas pressure.
Deenbandhu biogas plant
Methods for Continuous Biogas Production ( or
Methods for maintaining Biogas Production):

 The temperature of the sludge is important in


maintaining the reactions and hence generation of
biogas.
 An optimum temperature (35 to 40°C) is required to
be maintained to keep the fermentation process
continuously.
 The various methods available to maintain the
required temperature condition, and hence the
continuous induction of biogas are as follows:
 Insulation of biogas plant:
 Composting around the pit:
Cont…

 Circulation of hot water:


 Addition of chemicals:
 Use of solar energy:
Factors affecting biogas generation:( or Factors
influencing biogas yield):-

 pH or hydrogen ion concentration:


 In a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5, microorganism will be very active
and bio-digestion will be very efficient.
 For sewage solids, the ideal pH is from 7 to 7.5.

 Temperature:
 The temperature range from 35 °C to 40 °C results in better
methane formation.
 The gas generation starts decreasing at 20 °C and ceases
completely at 10 °C.
 Total solid content of feed material:
 Around 80 to 82 % of moisture is present in raw cow dung and
remaining 18 - 20 % is called total solids.
Factors affecting biogas generation:( or Factors
influencing biogas yield):-

 Loading rate:
 The amount of raw material supplied to the fermentation tank
(digester) per day per unit volume is known as loading rate.
 For municipal sewage treatment plants, the loading rate ranges from
1.2 to 5.3 kg/m3/day
 High loading rate, results in the formation of acids and thus
fermentation stops.
 Seeding:
 Seeding is nothing but the increase in number of methane formers by
artificial means.
 Uniform feeding:
 In order to provide good fermentation in the digester, a control over
quality and quantity of raw material supplied to the digester is
essential.
Factors affecting biogas generation:( or Factors
influencing biogas yield):-

 Carbon nitrogen ratio of the input material:


 For an optimal digestion rate, a carbon nitrogen ratio of 30:1 is
necessary.
 Diameter to depth ratio:
 It was investigated that maximum gas production rate occurs
with diameter to depth ratio of 0.66 to 1.0.
 Nutrients:
 In digester, the bacteria always require C, H2, 02, P and S.
 Out of these nutrients, the supply of N2 and P are always short.
 In order to compensate this, extra raw material which is rich in
Phosphorous and N2 must be added to increase the gas
generation rate.
Factors affecting biogas generation:( or Factors
influencing biogas yield):-

 Mixing or stirring or agitation of content of


digester:
 In digester, a proper mixing of slurry is required to improve the
fermentation process.
 Retention period or feeding rate:
 Usually the retention period is kept from 30 to 45 days.
 Pressure:
 Lower pressure gives better fermentation process.
 Acid accumulation inside the digester:
 Toxicity:
 If the digested and fermented slurry is left in the digester tank
beyond certain time, it becomes toxic and affects the further
fermentation process, thereby reducing the gas production rate.
 Type of feed stocks:
Problems related to Bio-gas plants:

 Handling of effluent Slurry :


 Temperature variation :
 Improper loading of slurry:
 pH and Volatile fatty adds:
 Leakage of Gas:
 Due to lack of knowledge about biogas generation,
some persons add urea fertilizer which results in
toxicity of ammonia nitrogen and decreases gas
production.
Digester Design Consideration:

The following factors are to be taken into account to


arrive an optimum size of a biogas plant. These
are,
 The volume of waste to be digested daily.
 The type and amount of waste available for digestion consistently.
 Period of digestion.
 Methods of stirring, the contents if any,
 Method of adding the raw waste and removing digested slurry,
 Efficiency of the collection of the raw waste.
 The climate condition of the region.
 The availability of other cellulosic fermentable waste in that area.
 Information about sub-soil condition and waste table, and
 Type of the cover.
Digester Design Consideration :

Volume of Digester for Biogas Production using Cow Dung only:

Energy available from a biogas digester =E= η Hm Fm Vb

where, η = combustion efficiency of burner


 Hm = Heat of combustion of methane (56 MJ/kg, 28 MJ/m3 at STP).
 Fm = Fraction of methane in biogas
Vb = Volume of biogas = C mo
 C = Biogas per unit dry mass (0.2 to 0.4 m3/kg)
 mo = mass of dry input
The volume of fluid in the digester = Vf= mo/ρm
 ρm = density of dry material in the fluid ( appr. 50 kg/m3).
Volume of Digester = Vd = Vf tr
Vf = flow rate of digester fluid , tr = Retention time