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Electricity from biomass

Biomass can make an important contribution to the solar energy  revolution in the next  few decades. The energy  potential for Germany is at least 10 % of present-day energy  consumption. Solar energy  obtained in the form of biomass  is convertible into all forms of energy. It can be stored, and  it is already  being  used  as a substitute for fossil resources.

There is still a considerable need for research and  development in the areas of biomass electricity generation, as well as a large untapped application potential. Used as distributed electricity generation plants  in integrated grids, biomass  facilities are suitable as background reserve systems  that  can compensate for the fluctuating capacity available from photovoltaic and  wind generators.

Research and  development requirements

•   Processes  for the production of carbon- derived  fuels from biomass  (in fuel cells, micro turbines, and  block heat  and  power plants)

•   Integrated decentralized/communal energy concepts for the large-scale use of biomass (logistics)

•    Optimal coproduction of food stock and energy

•   Optimization of biogas  systems: Measurement systems  and  sensors  for optimal plant  management, customized control technology, standardization and modularization of system  components

•   Interface  technologies for various thermodynamic energy  converters such as conventional combined heat  and  power (CHP) plants,  micro gas turbines, Stirling engines and  fuel cells

•    Integration of modern biomass  systems  into electricity  supply  structures – also into decentralized energy  supplies  in developing countries – as well as development of “micro gas networks” fed by biogas 

Heat from biomass

The sun’s energy  stored  in the form of biomass can be converted directly into heat. The thermal conversion technology used  for this is combustion. This technology has already reached an advanced level. Heat from biomass
is also produced in combined heat  and  power plants.

The potential of biomass  energy  for heat production in Germany is at least 10 % of current energy  consumption. The German government's ambitious targets for the use of biomass  as a source  of energy  require  new concepts that  will provide  for competitive generation costs along  with improved energy payback  and  ecological  impacts.

Research and  development requirements

More research needs  to be directed towards affordable, low-emission and  low-corrosion combustion technologies in the field of conventional (combustion) heat  generators for the use of solid biomass. Furthermore, innovative energy  conversion systems  must  be researched and  developed so that  residual  heat can be better utilized in cogeneration units fired by biomass  for heating and  cooling.

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