BIOMASS A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE
Imran Khan, Muhammad Umer, Muhammad Umair Hassan and M. Mahran Aslam
Biomass is a term used for material obtained from organic matter produced by photosynthesis, available on the surface of earth. This includes plant matter, animal waste (manures), forestry residues, sewage and certain types of industrial wastes. The world rely heavily on fossil fuels to meet their energy requirements, but these resources are limited and cause lot of environmental problems and ultimately dangerous for living being on the earth. US National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that florae are a source of biomass energy. Biomass energy is obtained from Agriculture and forestry. Some other birthplaces are industrial and municipal rubbishes (NREL, 2010).
The report submitted by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that continued emission due to burning of fossil fuels would cause a rise in temperature up to 1.4 and 5.8 ◦C during 1990 to 2100 (Mahmoud et al.,2009).Today, most of the energy demand of world is fulfilled by fossil fuels. However we will lose this option of earning energy within 40 to 50 years. Beside this, indemnities faced by environment (acid rain, global warming, smog) forced the world to work in reduction of release of carbon by 80 percent. This also turned the world intention to the use of different type of renewable energy that is not risky for environment. These sources can be used in a viable ways (Kohl and Hoi, 2003).
Biomass is the other carbon containing product which is naturally available. It is produced in large quantity and to be used at the place of fossil fuels resource. Contrasting fossil fuels, Biomass is renewable in respect that it can be reproduced within a short span of time. It releases carbon dioxide in use. However the release is reimbursed by the fact that during the photosynthesis biomass produced uses the carbon dioxide from atmosphere to stock energy. The net emission of carbon is zero during complete cycle of biomass production, if the biomass resource is being used ecologically.
Biomass is to be considered as renewable opportunity as it is available again and again in a short period of time (crops and trees are cultivated constantly) (TNP, 2010).Biomass produced by agricultural activities has great potential for the generation of electricity. In past few years, many researchers have worked for the issue of energy and biomass. They investigated different parameters relating to issue like economic, efficiency and effect on environment. At present about 9 to 14 percent requirements of energy is accomplished by biomass in industrialized countries, but in under developed and emerging countries this is one –fifth to one third (Khan et al., 2009).The world energy council prediction shows that, if proper planning is made till 2025, about 30 % use of fuel and 60 % world energy need would be encountered using renewable energy (Koh and Hoi, 2003).
Boiler release huge amount of greenhouse gasses due to burning of fossil fuel that has high carbon dioxide component. Some other material that contribute to greenhouse gasses are methane in natural gas and nitrous oxide that is produced during combustion. Today nearly all actions in industries are performed by steam. All these industries focus on their effort to produce steam from fossils fuels (USEPA, 2008). Biomass can be used commercially, if it is consumed to generate electricity that has great worth in the era of energy shortage. World is producing about 9GWe electricity generation by the help of biomass. Cogeneration technology, in which steam and power is generated by different type of fuel is sustainable route in industries like sugar, paper and rice mills. Biomass achieved from sugarcane bagasse and trash of sugarcane is great source of power generation. In the production of sugarcane Pakistan has secured fifth position in the world. Pakistan produced about 47,244100 million tons in 2008 .sugar mills association is permitted to cogenerate electricity up to 2000MW with the help of sugarcane bagasse( Umar et al., 2008) .
Hall (1991) said that natural asset can be controlled in sustainable way by using biomass to produce energy at massive level. We can get more valuable energy from biomass, if we transform the remains of crops and trees to briquettes by the help of modern technology. We can remove biomass handling issues and also use it in efficient way by using modern techniques. Today, biomass is considered superlative substitute for energy generation that is accessible with no trouble. Converting the biomass to briquettes that is in compressed form is worthy technology, safe for environment and birthplace for renewable energy. Briquetting of biomass enhance different properties like heating value, mechanical properties .Briquetting technology also result in low ash leads to save environment. Biomass is produced in large quantity in agricultural countries like Pakistan, so its price is less than fossil fuels. It is sustainable, cheaper, easily available and environmental friendly as compared to fossil fuels.in the situation of energy crisis and environmental problems biomass briquetting is best option. There is necessity of sentience to adopt this technology.