Biomass or bio energy is the energy produced by burning wood and agricultural left over respectively. Burning biomass products emits carbon dioxide and is classified under source renewable source of energy. Renewable sources of energy are those sources which will never get exhausted and the earth will never run out of it. Biomass basically uses the plant or plant base products as fuels. These plant-based products are not used for any other purpose but is used as fuel. Many power plants have altered their fuel from coal to biomass, to keep the coal undisturbed and use the waste products as fuel. These kinds of plant-based fuels are termed lignocellulosic fuel. It may include rice husks, straw, sugarcane bagasse and more. These lignocellulosic bio fuels also include wood. Wood is used as a bio fuel from the very ancient times till today. These wood products may be planks of wood, wood chip, wooden residue and so on.
Environmental impacts of using biomass:
There are several advantages and disadvantages of using biomass as fuel. Anything derived from nature is always healthy as it is organic and biological but at the same time it also shrinks the quality and quantity of nature.
- One of the major advantages of using biomass is that it is often the leftover, residue or a byproduct which would be wasted otherwise.
- These by products can be obtained as a result of processes like, forestry, animal husbandry, farming and agriculture.
- Less advanced technology is required. A biomass product can directly be used to produce energy on a basic level but when a larger amount of energy production is required the biomass has to be converted into bio fuels and bio energy. These technologies are traditional technologies and do not require heavy machine work, like the conversion of coal and gasoline requires.
- The major sources of biomass are garden waste, manure, agricultural residues and crop waste. These are the byproducts obtained from plants. Some other sources of biomass are animal waste and animal excretion. All of the mentioned products are organic and natural and are safe to use.
- The major disadvantage of using biomass is that large numbers of trees have to be often cut down. The trees hold the soil together and provide nutrition and as a result the soil becomes loose and erodes away.
- Cutting down of trees creates misbalance in the ecosystem.
- Burning biomass emits carbon dioxide in the air which cannot be considered fully healthy.
- The emission of carbon dioxide and cutting down of trees altogether causes unwanted climate change. And due to these reasons, many large companies are against the use of biomass for production of energy.
The above mentioned are some merits and demerits of using biomass for energy production. It is very helpful but at the same time requires judicious use.
Storage of the biomass products:
These biomass products are stored in bulks, in a way that they are stored safely for a long time. These biomass products have to be kept away from water and moisture, especially during rainy seasons. Water tends to moist the products and makes it non-flammable and also rots them. They have to be checked regularly for insects and rats and regular pest control is done.
Thus, to store bulks of such products like wood chips and agricultural residues like rice husk silos are used. A silo is a large container or structure for storing bulky products. A rice husk storage silo or a saw dust silo cylindrical in shape and is made of steel. There are several other kinds of silos like tower silos and bunker silos.
Different countries specialize in making various kinds of silos according to their needs. For example, wood chips silo storage in India, is very popular as the production of energy using wood chips is high. In the same way, different countries have industries and suppliers for the kind of silo they require the most. In some countries energy production using saw dust is higher, so they make bunker silos, while some use tower silos to store coal and petroleum.
The suppliers also vary among the countries. Like the suppliers of rice husk storage silo, are popular in East Asian countries while the suppliers of wood chips storage silo are popular in South Asian countries.