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Bio-fuel and Biomass  
Biomass is derived from plant material and animal wastes. It can be used to generate electricity and or heat and to produce transport fuel.
A very wide range of biomass can be used for energy purposes. Examples include agricultural wastes, eg straw and other crop residues; crops grown specifically for energy production, eg willow, miscanthus, oil seed rape and wastes from a range of sources including food production. The nature of the fuel will determine the way that energy can best be recovered from it.
Dry biomass fuels

The most straightforward way to recover energy from dry biomass fuels is by combustion to provide heating or hot water. These types of applications range in size from simple log fires and stoves, to sophisticated wood or straw fuelled boiler systems, usually with automatic fuel handling and control systems.

CHP is becoming an increasingly attractive option for biomass plant, offering a reliable low-cost heat source for industrial or commercial uses (such as a district heating system for a small community), together with electricity that can be sold to the local grid. Forest residues, industrial wood wastes and a range of agricultural wastes are often readily available as fuel for CHP plant. However, energy crops, such as wood coppice (willow or poplar in cooler climates, wattle and eucalyptus in warmer climates), or perennial grasses such as miscanthus, are becoming increasingly important. These may be grown specifically for use as a fuel, and can provide long-term secure resources. Biomass fuels are increasingly being used with advanced conversion technologies, such as gasification systems, which may offer superior efficiencies compared with conventional power generation. Gasification is a thermochemical process in which biomass is heated with little or no oxygen present to produce a low-energy gas The composition of the gas will depend on the nature of the gasification process used. The gas can then be used to fuel a gas turbine or a combustion engine to generate electricity.

Wet wastes

Cattle, pigs and poultry all produce slurries that can be used to produce biogas. The slurries can be fermented in an anaerobic digester to produce a gas that is mainly methane and carbon dioxide. The gas can be used in gas engines to generate electricity or in boilers to provide process heat or space heating. Some 40-60% of the organic matter present in the slurry is converted into biogas. After maturation, the remainder provides a stabilised residue that can be used as a soil conditioner.

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