Turning Waste Into Biomass

As global industrialization has increased, so too has global waste, with over 2.6 trillion pounds of waste being generated around the world each year. As energy demands continue to grow year-on-year, society is now on the hunt for more sustainable, greener solutions. Despite being classed as trash now, this 2.6 trillion pounds may eventually be considered suitable biomass.

Turning Waste Into Biomass

Image Credit: LECO Corporation

Fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas have been created over millions of years as a result of decomposing organic matter. However, hydrocarbons take millions of years to form, which makes them a limited resource.

Biofuel, created from biomass, is a way of capturing this energy potential without having to wait millions of years. Biomass can start off as any number of organic compounds, from rotting food to wood shavings to animal dung.

This biomass can then be burned to directly generate heat that can convert water to steam to turn turbines for electricity generation, or it can be converted into gas and usable fuels, including ethanol, which is now added to gasoline in the United States.

The gases generated from biomass burn cleaner than fossil fuel emissions, which adds to its value as a sustainable and renewable fuel source. However, the widespread implementation of biofuels in energy grids is still a way off. A large contributing factor is the expense and inefficiencies associated with this energy sector.

Turning Waste Into Biomass

Image Credit: LECO Corporation

As biomass-based technologies expand and mature in the near future, the associated costs are expected to drop, with a forecasted rise in interest from industry and commerce.

Improving the efficiency of biomass use requires the employment of equally efficient instruments. An elemental determinator like LECO’s CHN828 is capable of rapid, simultaneous analysis of carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen quantities in a given sample using various types of carrier gas.

By knowing the content of these elements, it is possible to determine the material/energy balances, thus determining the efficiency of biomass as fuel and the quality, and therefore, its value as a resource.

Turning Waste Into Biomass

Image Credit: LECO Corporation

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by LECO Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit LECO Corporation.

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