Promise of Biofuels in Distributed Generation Equipment



How biofuels can propel innovations in a distributed generation facility? 

In almost countries, biogas is being used to produce electricity and energy. This energy source is majorly generated from raw materials such as animal or agricultural waste. Since source reduction and feeding the ever-growing population are necessary priorities, organic wastes are vital and numerous and extend to non-edible sources. These wastes generate large amounts of methane as they decompose and are one of the most crucial sources of renewable energy. Currently, Europe contributes the largest share in biogas energy production, accounting for nearly 45 percent of the total biogas produced globally.

The EU has also set the long-term goal to develop a low carbon economy by 2050. An impact assessment accompanying the EC’s proposal for a new 55pc greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for 2030 foresees only limited biomass consumption growth, even if the power sector more than doubles its use of bioenergy by 2050.


Biofuel as a Renewable Energy Source

Biofuels are liquid and gaseous fuels generated from organic matter, common feedstock includes sugarcane, corn, wheat, grass, used cooking oil, animal fats, municipal waste, algae and more. Two factors are driving the global biofuel development, including energy security and climate change. This energy source is mainly used in transportation, helping to lessen the demand for petroleum products and improve the GHG emissions profile of the transportation sector. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, China and India currently are the largest biofuels producers in Asia. Produced from biomass, biofuels include cellulosic ethanol, bio-butanol, methanol and many synthetic gasoline/diesel equivalents.


Distributed Generation Facility

Distributed generation may serve a single structure, such as a home or business, or it may be part of a microgrid, such as at a major industrial facility, a military base, or a large college campus. A distributed generation refers to a variety of technologies that produce electricity at or near where it is installed, such as solar panels and combined heat and power. In the residential sector, common distributed generation systems include solar photovoltaic panels, small wind turbines, natural-gas-fired fuel cells, and emergency backup generators, often fueled by gasoline or diesel fuel. 

Conversely, in the commercial and industrial sectors, combined heat and power systems, solar photovoltaic panels, wind, hydropower, biomass combustion or cofiring, municipal solid waste incineration, fuel cells fired by natural gas or biomass, and reciprocating combustion engines, such as backup generators, are the resources of the distributed generation facility.


Biofuels for Distributed Generation Equipment

In an article, Lee Goldberg, a self-identified Recovering Engineer, and Green-Tech Maven, noted that a biogas-powered distributed generation facility comprises several unique elements, such as the treatment system that confiscates the water vapor, sulfur, and other contaminants from the raw gas to make it suitable as fuel. Also, the system has a heat exchanger tool, more commonly associated with fossil-fuel-burning heat and power (CHP) plants, that help excerpt the waste heat from the engine for heating buildings or other types of industrial processes. Besides, such a system generates a double environmental benefit. It not only thwarts the production of 2,683 tons of CO2 each year, but also produces and burns methane in a controlled environment from materials that would have otherwise released it into the atmosphere when they decomposed in a field or landfill.

Distributed generation technologies can be used for a varying sort of applications, including peak shaving, base-load power reduction, improving power quality, backup power provision, and cooling and heating provisions.