Biomass is growing, and is still aiming for widespread adoption across the nation, instead of being a regional energy source.
In order for biomass to scale commercially and become more widespread, there are two things that have to be refined and developed: more efficient operations and prime optimization of biomass fuels.
While margins are tightening for power producers who depend solely or partly on biomass fuel, the biomass power sector is seeing a little more competition.
To compete, the power sector is working to improve their operations to the point where they are maximally efficient. This may mean consolidation of the industry so that there’s a seamless link between fuel growers, harvesters and processors, and end-user power producers.
Thermal utilization is another area of advance that could provide more efficiency and value. Biomass power plants produce a lot of heat. That heat, with the right technology, can be captured and put to use in a heating or cooling capacity. Thermal energy has great promise and traditionally isn’t something the United States has taken advantage of, but the possibilities are there.
Additionally, there is the notion that biomass and biofuel production facilities could co-locate more in the future. Producers are working on that solution as we speak, seeing natural efficiencies and synergies between the two industries that can create favorable economies of scale.
Finally, biomass power producers can create a byproduct known as biochar. Biochar has several potential applications, such as helping develop healthier soil for growers, or providing an additive to livestock food to help the animals with their digestive systems. Biochar could also help with carbon sequestration. More potential applications are being developed, and if biochar takes off, it could provide a lucrative stream of revenue for the industry.
Biomass, in many ways, is still in the early stages of development as a fuel source. Achieving more efficiency and value in how the industry operates will go a long way to mature the industry and help it scale up so it can become a key energy provider in the future.
ProcessBarron engineers, constructs, and installs air, ash, and material handling equipment for biomass plants. Contact the team for more information.