How to turn biomass into energy

According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), biomass is the second largest source of energy generation in Brazil and comes from a material consisting mainly of substances of organic origin, that is, animals and vegetables. By burning firewood, sugarcane bagasse, agricultural waste, rice husk and animal droppings, for example, that energy is produced.

However, its improper use can cause deforestation of many areas, loss of soil nutrients, erosions and excessive emission of gases. However, this form of production also brings many benefits because it has a low operating cost, ease of storage and transportation and high energy efficiency. In addition, it is considered a clean source, which emits fewer polluting gases and its residues can be reused.

There are varied forms of production and among them, they are:

Pyrolysis: Biomass suffers the impact of high temperatures and the absence of oxygen, which causes it to decompose, generating mixture of liquid gases (vegetable oils) and solid gases (charcoal);

Gasification: Similar to pyrolysis, but biomass is subjected to a lower temperature and the result is only a flammable gas;  

Combustion: One of the most common ways. Biomass suffers impact from high temperatures and a strong presence of oxygen, which will produce steam at high pressure (usually used in boilers or to move turbines).

Co-combustion: By replacing the part of coal in thermal power plants with biomass, this form significantly reduces the emission of pollutants. It functions as a very attractive and economical choice.

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