Bio means life. Bioenergy is the name given to energy from biomass, i.e., organic matter from plants and animals. This type of energy used to produce fuel, electricity, and heat is considered an alternative to conventional energy sources and becoming popular day by day.
Primary sources for production
There are plenty of renewable resources that can help in energy creation like:
- Agricultural products (maize, cereals)
- Sugarcane bagasse
- Organic waste (sawdust, organic waste)
- Vegetables and fruits
- Animal and human waste
These fonts fall into four categories:
- Crops: Agricultural products, such as corn and cereals.
- Agricultural and forest waste: waste gathered during harvesting and felling of trees, such as straw and wood waste.
- Organic by-products: organic waste, agricultural effluents, and also waste from wood processing.
- Organic waste: household waste, domestic and industrial wastewater, food production waste, and even human and animal waste.
Biomass And Bioenergy
Biomass, the organic matter used for energy production, can be of plant and also of animal origin. As a result, organic matter produces bioenergy, clean, inexpensive energy that does not emit polluting gases into the atmosphere.
The carbon dioxide gas released from the burning biomass during the production of bioenergetic would cause less damage to the atmosphere. The reason behind this is carbon dioxide is easily absorbable by the plants during photosynthesis.
Besides, bioenergy production represents a response to the appeal of the scientific community regarding the negative impacts caused to the environment.
Fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are one of the leading products from biomass. Besides being more economical, These biofuels are sustainable, since their production does not emit polluting gases into the atmosphere.
However, it is worth noting that the use of biomass for energy production is associated with some environmental problems, such as the intensification of deforestation to enable agricultural production. This removal of vegetation cover causes several issues, such as ecological imbalance, loss of animal habitat, and climate change.
Importance Of Bioenergy
Bioenergy is a clean as well as a renewable energy source. It seems to be a great alternative for the global energy matrix, which is dependent on non-renewable energy sources, especially fossil fuels.
In addition to emitting fewer pollutants, the energy generated by biomass allows the reuse of waste that we usually tend to dispose-off.
According to the scientific director of the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp), Carlos Henrique, bioenergy could be a solution to environmental damage.
Fuels Produced Through Bioenergy
Biofuels can be produced through agricultural products such as corn, wood, and also sugarcane.
Ethanol is produced from agro-industrial waste such as corn and also sugarcane. In Brazil, its production intensified in 1975 with the National Alcohol Program. Moreover, In 1994, it accounted for about 50% of the country’s national fuel consumption.
Biodiesel is a type of oil produced from vegetable oils. It represents an alternative to the use of diesel oil, but it is not a clean fuel since its production generates emission of polluting gases.
Biogas is a high calorific, gaseous fuel consisting mainly of methane. This fuel can be used to replace the use of natural gas as a result of non-renewable energy sources.
Biomethane is produced by cleaning and purifying biogas and consists mainly of methane. Likewise, It can be obtained from wastewater treatment plants, landfills, or livestock waste. Brazil produces about 30 million m3 of biomethane per day.
Advantages And Disadvantages
Although bioenergy represents an alternative energy source to the current energy model, its use and production have some disadvantages. Below are some of these advantages and disadvantages:
- It is a renewable energy source.
- It generates a few pollutants when compared to the use of non-renewable sources of energy.
- It has low cost and high capacity for reuse of waste.
- Has lower environmental risk.
- It does not contribute to the intensification of the greenhouse effect.
- It causes deforestation of large areas, resulting in habitat loss, ecological imbalance, and climate change.
- It has a lower calorific value when compared to other fuels.
- It is difficult to store and also its transportation is not easy.
- Reduces efficiency.
- Liquid biofuels may cause increased acid rain.
Bioenergy In Brazil
Bioenergy production in Brazil is related to the use of primary sources such as sugarcane bagasse and also wood. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Brazil ranks second in bioethanol production in the world.
Biomass is also widely used to produce electricity in Brazil, behind only hydroelectricity. Furthermore, about 43% of the energy produced in the country comes from renewable sources. But, sugarcane corresponds to approximately 17% of the Brazilian energy matrix.