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Question 21
What is biomass? What can be done to obtain bio-energy using biomass?


Solution

Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power. Some examples of materials used as biomass are scrap lumber, forest debris, manures, waste residues from animals and farms. The excreta of living organisms and their bodies after also contribute to the biomass. 

Biomass is produced by the anaerobic degradation of animal wastes like cow-dung (or plant waste) in the presence of water. This degradation is carried out by anaerobic micro-organisms called anaerobic bacteria in the presence of water but in the absence of oxygen.

Slurry of cow-dung and water is made in the mixing tank. This slurry flows into the digester having no oxygen. Anaerobic micro-organisms decompose or breakdown complex compounds of the cow-dung slurry. It takes a few days for the decomposition process to be completed and generated bio-gas. The biogas is stored in the gas tank above the digester from which they are drawn through pipes for use.

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