Editorial Feature

Using Biomass Gasification to Produce Clean Energy from Food Waste

Biomass gasification transforms biomass into hydrogen, nitrogen, and other products without burning it via a controlled process involving heat, steam, and oxygen. This article looks at this process in more detail and how it is being used to turn food waste into clean energy.

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Considering biomass growth removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, net carbon dioxide emissions are minimal, particularly when combined with long-term carbon collection, usage, and storage.

How Does Biomass Gasification Work?

Biomass gasification is the incomplete burning of biomass that produces combustible gases such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and trace amounts of methane. Producer gas is the name given to this combination.

Producer gas could be used to power combustion engines (both spark ignition and compression engine), to replace furnace oil in heating applications, and it can be used for an extremely appealing chemical methanol, that can be used as a fuel for heating systems, and also a chemical feedstock for industries—in an economically viable manner.

Any biomass resource may be gasified, making this method much more desirable than ethanol or biogas production, which both need specific biomass components.

Gasification, the mechanism through which generator gas is produced, is the partial combustion of solid fuel (biomass) at temperatures of around 1000 °C. The technical word for the reactor is a gasifier. Nitrogen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and an excess of oxygen are frequently present in the combustion products of complete biomass combustion.

Conversely, when there is an excess of biomass (incomplete combustion), the products of combustion include combustible gases such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and traces of methane, as well as non-combustible compounds such as tar and dust.

Those gases are produced when water vapor and CO2 react in the presence of a burning layer of charcoal. Thus, the crucial thing to gasification design is to generate circumstances that allow biomass to be reduced to charcoal and then transformed into carbon monoxide and hydrogen at a sufficient temperature.

The Importance of Green Energy

Green energy is essential for the ecosystem since it mitigates the negative impacts of fossil fuels by substituting more ecologically friendly fuels. Green energy is generally renewable, clean, and green, meaning it emits no or little greenhouse emissions and is often easily accessible.

Food Waste Effects on Environmental Issues

Today, approximately one-third of all edible food on the planet is thrown away. When food is tossed out, we also throw away the water and energy required to cultivate, harvest, distribute, and package it. Food waste disposed of in landfills generates a significant quantity of methane - a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

People could eliminate between 6%-8% of all greenhouse emissions if food wastage was reduced. Since agriculture uses 70% of the planet's freshwater resources, food waste also constitutes a significant waste of fresh surface and groundwater resources.

New Advancement – Potato Peel Waste as Biomass Fuel Source

Potatoes are one of the most widely eaten crops worldwide owing to their nutritious and commercial advantages. When potatoes are peeled, waste is created in homes, restaurants, as well as the food manufacturing sector.

To meet the growing need for biohydrogen for a variety of applications, the possibility of biohydrogen synthesizing from potato peel waste is promising. Tremendous efforts have been made in the conversion of potato peel waste into low-cost, ecologically friendly, and biodegradable natural-based catalysts that could be used in replacement of commercial catalysts.

While the viability of potato peel waste as a biomass fuel substrate is indisputable, owing to its oxidation state, pH, chemical composition and various pretreatment and co-digestion procedures are necessary to maximize biogas production and methane concentration. Potato peel trash will help cut prices of biofuels at the pump, guarantee proper waste disposal, and contribute to sustainable green energy.

Future Outlooks of Biomass Gasification

At the tested carbon dioxide charge levels, using biomass gasification is more economically advantageous compared with other systems.

Gasification also adds value to low-cost power, stimulating higher investment in renewable energy production and highlighting the necessity of addressing local diversities in the evaluation and the importance of researching this concept using a time-resolved model. It will have a significant influence on the electrical system's investments.

References and Further Reading

Awogbemi, M., et al. (2022). Biofuel Generation from Potato Peel Waste: Current State and Prospects. Recycling. https://doi.org/10.3390/recycling7020023

Dincer, I., and Ishaq, H. (2022). Biomass Energy-Based Hydrogen Production. Renewable Hydrogen Production. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-85176-3.00002-0

Elkhalifa, S., et al. (2022). Biochar development from thermal TGA studies of individual food waste vegetables and their blended systems. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13399-022-02441-0

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Akhlaqul Karomah

Written by

Akhlaqul Karomah

Akhlaqul has a passion for engineering, renewable energy, science, and business development.

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