Biomass pellets, a successful growing energy source

Biomass pellets, a successful growing energy source
April 19, 2023

Introduction

The most significant renewable energy source, bioenergy, supplied 14% of the world’s final energy consumption in 2011. The pellet industry is one of the fastest developing in comparison to other forms of bioenergy.

Worldwide, 22 million tonnes of pellets were manufactured in 2013 at about 800 facilities, each with a capacity of over 10,000 tonnes. From 23 million tonnes in 2014 to 50 million tonnes in 2024, the demand for wood pellets increased.

What are Biomass Pellets?

Biomass pellets are high-quality biomass fuels that come in a compact, cylindrical shape and are created by compressing biowaste materials.

In a variety of contexts, biomass pellets are referred to as biomass. Depending on the feedstock used, wood pellets and Argo pellets are distinguished in the context of energy. Currently, pellets are mostly produced from wood residues, although pellets made from agricultural by-products such as straw, sunflower seed husks, stalks, and leaves of corn are also increasing in volume.

In comparison with unprocessed biomass, pellets have a high density and high energy content per unit volume. This leads to significantly reduced costs for transportation, handling, storage, and use. Another advantage is that they can be made to have homogeneous properties. This enhances the usability of Biomass Pellets because stoves, boilers, or pellet burners can be designed accordingly and constructed to suit the standard fuel properties.

How are pellets being produced?

Pelletisation is a simpler, more efficient, and low-cost process in comparison to other technologies for upgrading biomass.

 The key steps for pellet production are:

  • Pre-milling of raw material
  • Drying of raw material
  • Milling of raw material
  • Densification of the product

This process enables the production of a congruent fuel with low humidity and high energy density. In the case of the availability of dry raw materials, only milling and densification are enough for production.

Biomass pellets – A fuel for many uses

The biggest market for pellets at the moment is the energy sector. About half of the pellets are utilized as fuel or to partially replace coal in power plants that have switched from using coal to pellets. The other half of pellet consumption is mostly utilized to heat houses using pellet boilers or stoves, heat public or commercial buildings, and provide steam for industrial purposes. The capacity to use pellets almost anywhere there is a demand, from small domestic appliances with a few kW of output all the way up to large power plants with hundreds of MW of electricity, is one of the main advantages of using them.

Pellet use in power plants, and industries

The benefit of using pellets in coal-fired power plants is that only modest changes to the power plant are necessary to use pellets as a fuel. As a result, a plant can generate a lot of renewable electricity for relatively little money. Usually, when a plant is converted, it is made co-fireable, which burns pulverized coal as fuel.

Pellets are ground into wood powder, which is then either burned alone or in combination with coal ash. Pellets have excellent potential to replace fossil fuels in significant businesses, such as the pulp industry. Typically, pellets are processed into wood powder, which can be burned on its own or combined with oil, gas, or finely chopped black coal.

Conclusion

Biomass pellets have the potential to play a substantial role in the global energy balance as a fuel. The construction of plantations of quickly growing trees could increase the already significant availability of wood as a raw material. Also, the possibility to use agricultural by-products offers a vast amount of resources. There is the expectation of continuing growth in pellet production, and it suggests that a share of 2-3% of the biomass portfolio within ten years will be satisfied by pellets.

The public policy for the deployment of renewables very often overlooks the significance of the heat market. The heat market is the most important part of the energy market and pellets have the potential to become the most sought fuel of the 21st century. In a situation where the world is facing climate problems and energy security issues, JAIPUR GREEN FUELS PVT LTD favors farsighted government policies such as carbon taxes and financial incentives to promote the use of pellets for combined heat and power and/or heat-alone applications. This would reduce the heating expenses for the citizens, decrease CO2 emissions and improve energy security.

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