Biomass Heat and Power

The energy stored in biomass can be released to produce renewable electricity or heat. Biopower can be generated through combustion or gasification of dry biomass or biogas (methane) captured through controlled anaerobic digestion. Cofiring of biomass and fossil fuels (usually coal) is a low-cost means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving cost-effectiveness, and reducing criteria air pollutants in existing power plants. Thermal energy (heating and cooling) is often produced at the scale of the individual building, through direct combustion of wood pellets, wood chips, and other sources of dry biomass. Combined heat and power (CHP) operations often represent the most efficient use of biomass (utilizing around 90 percent of potential energy). These facilities capture the waste heat and/or steam from biopower production and pipe it to nearby buildings to provide heat or to chillers for cooling.


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