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Biomass Pellets: a Perfect Replacement of Coal

Biomass Pellets: a Perfect Replacement of Coal
Over 40% of worldwide electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. Coal has the largest carbon dioxide emissions per unit energy among all fossil fuels, and coal-fired power plants are a major source of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Coal-fired power plants generally have a life of 20 to 50 years and represent a huge global capital investment. It is not economically feasible to retire these coal-fired power plants and replace them with environmental technology. It is possible, however, to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by replacing some of the coal with biomass - burning both fuels together,which is called co-firing.

wood pellets

A straightforward and modest cost modification can allow most coal-fired power plants to replace up to 20% of the coal currently being used with biomass pellets, and thus reduce the power plant's carbon dioxide emissions by 20%. Co-firing will allow power plants to meet their carbon emissions reduction targets for the next decade. Many coal-fired power plants in Europe have been co-firing for more than 10 years.The reason of the limitation to 20% for co-firing is that the boilers in the coal power plant are generally not compatible with larger amounts of biomass. New power plants with different boiler technology that use 100% biomass are now widely available and receiving a lot of attention due to their green technology.
Torrefaction is an emerging technology that converts biomass into bio coal that can be directly substituted in any amount for coal in existing coal-fired power plants. Bio coal has high energy density and can be stored outdoors just like coal.
Properties of Biomass Pellets
Biomass pellets are generally a better-performing fuel, compared to their raw feedstock. The pellets are more energy dense and easier to transport and feed into automated feed systems. These advantages, when combined with the renewable and environmentally sound properties of the feedstock, make biomass pellets a viable source of green energy.A wide array of biomass materials can be used to manufacture pellets. Most pellets today are made from sawdust and other wood waste. Pellet mills are commercial enterprises, and equipment for making pellets is available from many sources.A biomass briquette is similar to a pellet but is larger-- up to 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 foot long. Briquettes are often used in industrial applications that generate heat or steam rather than electricity.