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Biomass energy:

What is biomass and biomass energy?

We have to draw a distinction between the definitions of “biomass” in general and for energy use. In the first case biomass is biological organic material sprung from organisms living or recently living either on land or in water; also municipal sewage and solid waste or organic waste from different sources like agricultural and biotechnological parks. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. Most commonly it refers to plant matter grown for use as biofuel but it also includes plant or animal matter used for other purposes. Vegetable matter is called fitomass and animal matter is called zoomass. Biomass may be primary, secondary or tertiary. Primary biomass is the flora, plants on fields, forests, meadow, pasture, plants living in water. Secondary is the animal kingdom, livestock, products and spin-offs of animal husbandry. Tertiary biomass is industrial products and co-products originated from biological materials, sewage and waste from built-up area. Biomass is used in food-supply, feeding, producing energy and producing agricultural commodities. Important methods of utilization in energy production: incineration, pyrolysis, gasification and producing biogas.

History of biomass:

History of fuels has been the history of biofuel so far. Up to 17th century biomass was the only available resource for heating apart from the Sun and coal. Animal and vegetable oils or tallow candle were burnt to ensure lighting. The oldest bio-energy is the power of beast of burden that it is still used. Wood was succeeded by coal at the beginning of industrial revolution since coal was a more effective fuel for utilization of machines. Usage of energy produced by burning coal brought large changes in technology. Poverty and increasing price of wood forced the extensive spread of coal.

Methods of using biomass:

-it can be used as a fuel by means of chemical transformation (liquefaction, gasification)
-fermented fuel (ethyl alcohol produced by fermentation and distillation)
-biodiesel from vegetable oil or fat by transesterification
-biogas by anaerobic digestion
-charcoal that is produced by pyrolysis (a method of heating waste in the absence of oxygen)

Utilization of Biomass in Hungary:

Utilization of biomass is possible in the agricultural industry sector in Hungary. The renewable vegetal biomass is 55-58 million tons in dry matter 6-8 million tons of this could be used to produce energy. Ecological, economical and technological conditions should adhere to a certain rate of which the proportion and effectiveness of usage could be improved. Solid biomass is used for soil conditioning, generating energy and in animal husbandry. Agriculture and forestry produce considerable byproduct but less than tenth of this is used for firing or producing energy. Cereal straw and wooden waste is the best to produce energy and in the same way corn and sunflower stem is the finest for soil conditioning. Growing plants for energy manufacturing purpose may aim at producing propellants (alcohol, rape-methyl-ester) and fuels (bio-briquette, rape-oil). You usually have to make bio-propellants ready for firing by frittering and compression. Efficiency of briquette and pellet is equivalent to local lignite, though they produce less sulphur and ash that is commonly used for soil conditioning. At the same time nitrogen oxide emission is raising and there is no subsidy on using biomass for generating electricity.

Liquid biomass that is mostly rape-oil in Hungary can be used as fuel, lubricant, hydraulic fluid and as heating oil. Usage of vegetable oil as a fuel has disadvantages as well. For example it is more explosive, more difficult to atomize and coking is more likely. These characteristics can be improved via a chemical reaction named FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) that produces rape-methyl-ester through treating fatty acid of rape-oil by ethanol or methanol.

Biogas can be used as a low-cost fuel for any heating purpose such as cooking and heating. It also can be utilized to run any type of heat engine to generate either mechanical or electrical power. Legal regulations and favorable financial conditions are required to be elaborated to support and encourage the farmers in Hungary to grow vegetables that are used to produce energy