The combustion of Biomass is a carbon-free process. The CO2 that is released after burning biomass was previously collected by the plants that were being burned. As per the report by IEA, in modern coal power plants, biomass co-firing is cost-effective with an efficiency of up to 45% for power generation.
However, if we compare it to coal plants, the issues related to feedstock availability in biomass plants derail the amount needed for combined heat & power. They are typically smaller in size and have lower electrical efficiency. 30%-34% is only used for dry biomass and around 22% for municipal solid waste.
The total efficiency may reach up to 90% in cogeneration mode. In gas-turbine plants, biomass-integrated gasification is not yet commercialized but with black liquor, it is already in use. In small, off-grid applications anaerobic digestion are producing biogas.
Also, cost-effective production of bio-chemicals, electricity, and bio-fuels can be a result of Bio-refineries. The cost of bio-power varies widely due to the variety of feedstocks and processes. The co-firing in a coal power plant requires an investment of about $50-$250/kW and an electricity cost of about US$20/MWh.
The typical biomass cost is $3-$3.5/GJ and the electricity cost may exceed $30-$30/MWh. The small-size biomass power plants are more expensive than coal plants. In cogeneration mode, the electricity cost is in the range of $40 to $90/MWh.
The electricity cost is around $100-$130/MWh from the new gasification plants but a reduction is possible in the new future.
The data is collected from Statista.
The resources for Biomass include agricultural residues, animal manure, wood waste from forestry and industry, residues from food and paper industries, municipal green wastes, sewage sludge, dedicated energy crops such as short-rotation (3-15 years) coppice (eucalyptus, poplar, willow), grasses, sugar crops, starch crops, and oil crops.
The major biomass sources are organic wastes and residues but energy crops gained more importance and market share. Residues, waste, and bagasse are used primarily for heat & power generation.
Also for power generation, cheap, high-quality biomass is used in power generation as it became scarce. It is also used in heat production and the pulp & paper industry. The biomass technologies, power cost, and heat generation depend on the quality and availability of the feedstock. It also depends on the transportation cost, power plant size, and biogas conversion.
Biopower and CHP plants are clean with sufficient availability of Biomass. They are also a reliable power source suitable for base-load service.