Biomass, Biofuels


Biodiesel, made from vegetable oil, can be used in any diesel engine without any modifications to the vehicle. It is a renewable, non-toxic, bio-degradable, and domestic fuel with a similar engine performance as diesel fuel, but does not require petroleum. As an example, the University of Colorado has begun the development of alternative fuels for its transportation fleet, using waste cooking oil from the university cafeterias.

Interesting websites:

Biodiesel benefits Fact Sheet
CEM Article on Fried Fuels
CU Biodiesel
Boulder Biodiesel
Blue Sun Biodiesel


What is Biomass: Biomass is organic material, which has stored solar energy from sunlight in the form of chemical in the plants through the process called photosynthesis.  Biomass fuels include Agricultural Wastes, Crop Residues, Wood, Woody Wastes & Organic Wastes etc.  Unless like fossil fuels Biomass does not add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as it absorbs the same amount of carbon while growing.  It is the cheapest, eco-friendly, renewable source of energy.

What is Biomass Gasification: Biomass Gasification converts solid biomass into more convenient gaseous form.  The ratio of air-to-fuel required for the complete combustion of the biomass is 6:1 to 6.5:1, which defined as stoichiometric combustion with the end products being CO2 and H2O.  In gasification the combustion is carried at sub-stoichiometric conditions with air-to-fuel ratio being 1.5:1 to 1.8:1. The gas so obtained is called producer gas, which is combustible having a calorific value of 4.5-5.0 MJ/kg, with an average composition of CO : 20 + 1%; CH4 : 3 + 1%, H2 : 20 + 1%, CO2 : 12 + 1% and rest, N2.  This process is made possible in a device called gasifier.  A gasifier system mainly comprises of a reactor, where the combustible gas is generated and the gas is made available for power generation / thermal application after the required cleaning and cooling process.

Interesting website:
British Biogen, the trade association for biomass energy
BioEnergy Lists: Gasifiers and Gasification

Aruna Electrical Works Ltd: Harvest Power from Biomass
Production of Methane could help change Rwanda's fortune (BBC, 02/06)
Enhanced Anaerobic Digestion of Biomass Waste for Optimized Production of Renewable Energy and Solids for Compost