International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that if a New Polices Scenario is considered the traditional biomass uses will decrease by 2035 and other uses as power, industry, transport, buildings and others will increase.
One feedstock can be used in most that one conversion route. For example, oil crops can be used in combustion process but also in transesterification or hydrogenation processes. As we can see in the figure above, each route gives products. One route can give more than one product and one product can be generated by means of different conversion routes.
In this process, hydrogen and carbon react with excess oxygen to produce CO2 and water. This process releases heat. The biomass burning can be direct for cooking and it is very common in rural areas. But feedstocks as charcoal and wood are also used in industries to produce fuels.
Partial biomass oxidation occurs upon heating that produces fuel gas which is rich in CO and hydrogen. The fuel gas quality can be improved and then syngas is obtained. Coupled with electricity generators, syngas can be used as a fuel in place of diesel. Gasification is more efficient than combustion because the heating can be better controlled and higher efficiencies can be achieve in electricity production.
In transesterification alcohols such as methanol react with triglycerides in the presence of a catalyst. The triglycerids are inside vegetable oils or animal fats. The generated products are an alkyl ester of fatty acids and a glycerine by-product. The fatty acid alkyl esters are the biodiesel. The protein-rich residue, also known as cake, is typically sold as animal feed or fertilizer.
This process consists on the reaction of biomass (vegetable oil or animal fats) with H2 in the presence of a catalyst. This conversion route can be considerated as a first generation route
ANAEROBIC DIGESTION (AD)
Is the process that involvesthe breakdown of organic material by specifics microorganisms in the absence of oxygen to produce biogas.