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Part I


Dewi Agustina Iryani
Departement of Chemical Engineering
Engineering Faculty University of Lampung

What is BIOMASS?
Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. I

n the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based mate
rial, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived materi
Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms.

It most often refers to plants or plant-based materials which are specifically call
ed lignocellulosic biomass. As an energy source, biomass can either be used
directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to vario
us forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by differe
nt methods which are broadly classified into: thermal, chemical, and biochemic
al methods.
Biomass is the term used for the biological material from living or recently living

organisms such as wood, waste materials, gases and alcohol fuels. Biomass is co
mmonly plant matter that is specifically grown in order to produce electricity or
to produce heat.

What is BIOMASS?
Any organic material derived from plants (botani

cal) or animals(biological)
A non-fossilized fuel source that is biodegradabl
Excludes materials normally used as foods

Biomass is a Renewable Energy Source

When biomass dies it is naturally broken down

and releases H2O, CO2, and energy

The same change happens when used for che

mical or energy purposes

Net pollution contribution is zero!

How is Biomass Formed?

Botanical (plant) biomass converts CO2and H2

O to carbohydrate and oxygen with energy fro

m the sun through photosynthesis
Biological (animal) species grow by consuming
botanical species or other biological species

Chemical composition of Bio

Biomass is carbon based and is composed of a mixt
ure of organic molecules containing hydrogen, usua
lly including atoms of oxygen, often nitrogen and a
lso small quantities of other atoms, including alkali,
alkaline earth and heavy metals. These metals are
often found in functional molecules such as the por
phyrins which include chlorophyll which contains

Note: Porphyrins are a group of heterocyclic macrocycle

organic compounds, composed of four modified pyrrole

Carbon cycle
The carbon used to construct biomass is absorbed from the atmos

phere as carbon dioxide (CO2) by plant life, using energy from the
Plants may subsequently be eaten by animals and thus converted i
nto animal biomass. However the primary absorption is performed
by plants.
If plant material is not eaten it is generally either broken down by
micro-organisms or burned:
If broken down it releases the carbon back to the atmosphere, mai
nly as either carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4), depending u
pon the conditions and processes involved.
If burned the carbon is returned to the atmosphere as CO 2.
These processes have happened for as long as there have been pl
ants on Earth and is part of what is known as the carbon cycle.

The difference between biomass and fossil fuels

The vital difference between biomass and fossil

fuels is one of time scale.

Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas are also derived from b

iological material, however material that absorbed CO 2 fro

m the atmosphere many millions of years ago.
As fuels they offer high energy density, but making use of th
at energy involves burning the fuel, with the oxidation of th
e carbon to carbon dioxide and the hydrogen to water (vap
our). Unless they are captured and stored, these combusti
on products are usually released to the atmosphere, returni
ng carbon sequestered millions of years ago and thus contr
ibuting to increased atmospheric concentrations.

Categories of biomass materials

Within this definition, biomass for energy can include a wid

e range of materials.
There are five basic categories of material:
Virgin wood, from forestry, arboricultural activities or from
wood processing
Energy crops: high yield crops grown specifically for energ
y applications
Agricultural residues: residues from agriculture harvesting
or processing
Food waste, from food and drink manufacture, preparation
and processing, and post-consumer waste
Industrial waste and co-products from manufacturing an
d industrial processes.

Benefits of Using Biomass

Biomass can be used for fuels, power production, an
d products that would otherwise be made from foss
il fuels. In such scenarios, biomass can provide an
array of benefits. For example:
The use of biomass energy has the potential to greatly r

educe greenhouse gas emissions.

The use of biomass can reduce dependence on foreign
oil because biofuels are the only renewable liquid trans
portation fuels available.
The main biomass feedstocks for power are paper mill r
esidue, lumber mill scrap, and municipal waste. For bio
mass fuels, the most common feedstocks used today ar
e corn grain (for ethanol) and soybeans (for biodiesel).

Benefits of Using Biomass

research to develop and advance technologies f

or the following biomass energy applications:

Biofuels Converting biomass into liquid fuels f
or transportation
Biopower Burning biomass directly, or conver
ting it into gaseous or liquid fuels that burn more
efficiently, to generate electricity
Bioproducts Converting biomass into chemic
als for making plastics and other products that ty
pically are made from petroleum.

Classification of Biomass Fuels

Atomic ratios
H:C:O content
van Krevelen diagram (H/C versus O/C)

Biomass Examples

Exampleswood chips

rice straw


rice husk

Overview of Biomass Conversion Technologies

Student Activity: 2015

Student Activity 2014: