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Difficulties in biomass fuel industry and solutions

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Biomass energy is the world’s 4th largest energy, next only to coal, oil, and natural gas. It contributes a lot in the power generation. But biomass energy application are still under development in many areas. In this blog, I will analyze the difficulties in the biomass fuel industry chain, find the difficulties and give some advices.

Biomass materials are difficult to collect

Although biomass fuel can help farmers to make profits from crop wastes, the purchase of biomass materials involves many difficulties.

Crops has long growing cycle and short intervals. If the straws of last season can’t be disposed quickly, they would affect the planting for the next season. So the power plants or biomass fuel manufacturers must purchase the waste straws during this intervals before they are burned. Besides, the straw production time and volume are uneven, which can’t satisfy the continuous industrial production.

Straws can be used to make papers. If the purchasing price of paper manufacturers exceed that of biofuel manufacturers, farmers would sell the straws to the former one. This competition increase the cost of raw materials for biofuel. So, before the establish of a biomass fuel production plant, the owner have to do research on the raw material market.

collect biomass materials

High transportation cost of the raw materials

Biomass materials are scattered distributed. The harvest time is short and the workload is high. They have low density and take up large storage room, with high requirement on the rain, fire, and mildew resistance. These features increase the cost of transportation and storage.

The development of biomass energy need large and stable supply of biomass materials. To improve the straw collection efficiency and reduce the cost, it is necessary to develop low-cost store and transport equipment and technology.

biomass material storage and transportation

Low Technology efficiency

Biomass energy need to convert for use. The conversion efficiency determines the production cost. Currently, the conversion technology of biomass energy includes molding, direct burning, gasification, liquidation, and pyrolysis.

For biomass, it is crucial to decompose cellulose effectively. The widely applied Chemical hydrolysis technique are polluting and costing, with low economic competitiveness. Catalytic enzymatic method are less efficiency than amylase. Technology difficulties cause the energy consumption in biomass conversion higher than they generates, which affect the wide application of biomass energy.

To overcomes these technology problems, the biomass industry should develop cooperation with colleges and institutes, improve the technology efficiency, and realize large-scale application.

Insufficient price attraction

The prices of biomass fuel determines whether consumers will choose it. It not only includes the fuel price, but also the biomass power on-grid price, the matching of burning stoves, the standard of vehicle fuel ethanol. Given all these factors, the biomass fuel price is not attractive.

To promote the development of biomass energy industry, many countries have stipulated the proportion of renewable energy in power generation, or have provided subsidies. But it is often not enough to make up the extra cost for the adoption of biomass fuel. Besides, in places with large quantities of biomass resources, the on-grid power price is low, so the biomass power plants can't make high benefits.

wood pellet prospect

Difficulties in biomass fuel application

Biomass resources are distributed mainly in rural areas. Some experts believes the develop of biomass fuel will meet the energy demand in rural areas. But many farmers can’t afford the cost for using biomass fuel. To realize wide application of biomass fuel in rural areas, government subsidies are indispensible.

In cities, to adopt biofuel can save a great deal of cost for manufacturers, central heating systems, and large power consumers like holes and restaurants. They can also reduce the carbon emission by coals. But some cities don’t allow small-scale boilers, which limited the application of biomass in unban areas.

biomass fuel supply heat

*Wood pellets are the most popular and economical use of biomass energy. Just by putting the biomass materials into the wood pellet machine, you can get solid biomass fuels with high density and high calorific value. They are used the same as coals in stoves and boilers. If you want to know more about biomass pellet making equipment, please contact us in the form below.

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