Biomass energy has practical benefits for the environment, economy, and society, and has been implemented in various aspects of life.

1. Biomass Power Generation

Electricity is one of the most crucial secondary energy sources globally. Thermal power plants traditionally use fossil fuels to generate electricity, causing serious environmental repercussions. To reduce CO2 emissions, clean energy sources have been utilized, including biomass power.


Biomass power is electricity generated from biomass materials such as agricultural waste, plantation forests, waste from wood processing plants, and indigenous forest by-products. Biomass can be converted into electrical energy through various methods, each utilizing different types of biomass. Currently, there are six major biomass power generation systems worldwide, including direct biomass combustion, co-firing, gasification, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, and small-scale bioelectric systems.


2. Biomass Fuel for Boiler Systems

Boilers are vital equipment for providing energy in various industries. The basic operating principle of a boiler is to combust fuel to generate steam or heat, serving the production process. Traditional boiler fuels often include fossil fuels (crude oil, coal, natural gas), resulting in significant CO2 emissions and harmful gases for the environment. To address this issue, biomass boiler technology has emerged.


Biomass fuels for boiler systems are derived from plant sources such as trees, straw, grass, wood chips, bagasse, soybean residue, wheat straw, peanut husks, and other organic waste. Different types of biomass boiler fuels have varying characteristics depending on the plant sources from which they are produced. However, some common characteristics include moisture content, calorific value, purity, and ash content.

Utilizing biomass as boiler fuel helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Biomass also tends to be cheaper than other fuel types, providing cost benefits. Additionally, some types of ash residue from biomass boilers can be utilized as fertilizer or in building material production.


3. Production of Biofuels

With the increasingly limited supply of fossil fuels, energy scarcity has become a concerning issue for many countries, making energy security imperative worldwide. Governments worldwide are making efforts to explore alternative energy sources, with a primary focus on renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, one of which is biofuels.

Biofuels can be classified into the following main groups:

- Solid Biofuels: (Biomass pellets, direct combustion biomass) This type of fuel is commonly used in boiler systems, furnaces, kilns, and stoves for heat or electricity production.


- Liquid Biofuels: These fuels are typically used in vehicles and various industrial applications.

  • Bioethanol is produced through fermentation and distillation of crops containing sugars, serving as an additive to gasoline, creating blends like E10 or E85 for vehicles and industrial chemical solvents.
  • Biodiesel is a combustible biofuel produced from vegetable oils such as palm oil, rapeseed oil, or soybean oil through transesterification. It's considered an environmentally friendly alternative fuel for most diesel engines without significant modifications.
  • Bio/Pyrolysis Oil is a liquid oil created through the pyrolysis process of biomass in an oxygen-deficient environment. It can be used as a substitute fuel for diesel fuel or converted into other chemical products.


- Gas Biofuels: These fuels are commonly used in heat or electricity production processes, as well as in bioenergy applications such as cooking and heating.

  • Biogas is a type of gas produced from the biological decomposition of organic materials by bacteria. Its composition includes methane, carbon dioxide, and other gases such as hydrogen sulfide, water vapor, nitrogen, oxygen, and ammonia. Biogas is used for cooking, heating, and electricity generation.
  • Syngas is a synthetic gas mixture comprising hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and other gases. It is produced through the gasification process, where organic materials are converted into gas under high temperatures and pressure without the presence of oxygen. Syngas are used for industrial, household, and synthetic chemical production applications.
  • Biohydrogen is hydrogen gas produced through biological processes, often via biological fermentation or biological decomposition of organic materials. Hydrogen has significant potential as a clean and highly renewable fuel, used in industrial applications, energy research, and potentially as a fuel for vehicles.


4. Cultivation and Livestock

- Processing animal feed: Some agricultural by-products rich in nutrients such as bran, bagasse, seed meal, and grass residues can be processed and used as raw materials for animal feed processing, livestock, and poultry.


- Biologically padded bedding is a form of intensive livestock and poultry farming on bedding made from high-fiber biomass materials, which are less prone to moisture damage, such as straw, sawdust, hay, and grass. These are mixed with microorganisms to decompose the manure. Biologically padded bedding consists of two main layers: bedding material (such as straw, sawdust, wood, peanut shells, corn husks, or bagasse) and biological agents, cereal flour such as corn and bran. Some beneficial microorganisms in the bedding layer can decompose livestock waste. When animals excrete waste and urine into the bedding layer, microorganisms adhere to them and secrete extracellular enzymes to break them down through oxidation and fermentation, partly converting organic waste from livestock into protein for the microorganisms themselves, which becomes a protein source for the animals. In addition, some by-products of the fermentation process act as deodorizers, neutralizing and fixing NH3, while alcohol helps neutralize strange odors, thus greatly reducing the foul odor in the barn. The microorganisms in the breeding pens help maintain and balance the ecosystem in favor of the animals, ensuring sufficient waste decomposition while inhibiting pathogenic microorganisms harmful to the animals.


- Using as organic fertilizer: Biomass from grass and crop residues can be processed into organic fertilizer, providing nutrients to the soil and improving soil structure. Fertilizers from biomass are not only a source of organic nutrients but also enhance the richness of beneficial microorganisms in the soil.


5. Chemical production

- Production of methacrylate: Carbon-based compounds in biomass such as lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose are used as raw materials in the oxidation process to produce compounds containing methacrylate groups. Auxiliary chemical reactions such as esterification are used to convert by-products into methacrylates. Methacrylate, after refinement, is used as the main raw material in the production of acrylic resin and acrylic polymer.

- Conversion into acetic acid: Acetic acid is an important compound used in many industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, paint, and adhesive production, as well as in food and beverages. Biomass can be converted into acetic acid through fermentation, distillation, or heat treatment.

- Conversion into acetone: Acetone is a strong solvent widely used in the production of plastics, paints, adhesives, and many other applications. Biomass is converted into acetone through thermal decomposition (biomass pyrolysis under oxygen-deficient conditions).

- Production of glycerol: In the process of producing biodiesel from biomass, glycerol is also produced. Glycerol can be refined and used as a solvent in many industrial applications.


6. Civilian Applications

- Heating:

  • Heating is a crucial application for harnessing thermal energy from biomass. Since ancient times, humans have used dry branches, firewood, and leaves to kindle fires for warmth. Nowadays, biomass thermal furnaces are systems that utilize biomass such as wood, sugarcane bagasse, tree branches, or compressed biomass pellets to generate space heating, ranging from residential to office, industrial, educational, and medical facilities.
  • Biomass is utilized for heating in hot water pool systems by combustion, producing electricity. Some systems can combine biomass with other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy to provide heat for swimming pools.


- Biogas Stoves:

  • Biogas stoves utilize methane and carbon dioxide from the biological decomposition process of organic matter. Biogas stoves are widely manufactured and suitable for households. This is a convenient, energy-saving solution for cooking, particularly in rural areas where there is abundant organic waste.
  • Cooking stoves in households, restaurants, school canteens, and industrial kitchens are designed to use biomass such as dry grass, tree branches, or compressed biomass pellets as fuel. Automated biomass combustion systems are used in food processing plants to provide heat and energy for production processes.



These are some prominent applications of biomass in various sectors. The global consumption of biomass energy continues to rise, signaling a positive trend towards the global transition to green energy. However, the use of biomass energy still faces challenges in terms of management scale and technological aspects. Modern biomass energy does not include the use of traditional biomass in developing countries and emerging economies for cooking and heating through simple combustion, which poses many risks to health and the environment. Therefore, the replacement of traditional biomass with more efficient solutions is needed by 2030 in the Net Zero scenario, aiming for the sustainable development of the United Nations' clean energy and cost optimization goals.


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