Bioenergy derives from Biomass and is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels because it is made from renewable sources, such as plants and waste, that can continuously replenish. Biomass fuel is a perfect alternative to fossil fuels, especially for the environment. But on the other hand, one of the critical questions is whether Biomass is a carbon-neutral source. Let us understand the answer to this in the blog.

Carbon Neutrality of Biomass

The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from Biomass and fossil fuel combustion, the net difference in the atmosphere, is very different. Biomass only emits the amount of carbon that plants absorb throughout their lifetime. Trees take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release it back into the atmosphere when they die. Trees release the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Thus, the carbon cycle remains balance, and no extra carbon releases to the atmosphere—so Biomass is “carbon neutral.”

On the other hand Fossils, are present deep under the ground. They cannot emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere themselves. So, when we remove them from beneath the surface and burn them, it emits more carbon dioxide than the natural carbon cycle can take. It, therefore, results in a surplus of carbon in the atmosphere. Let us have a look at the carbon emissions of different fossil fuels:

  1. About 1 L of Petrol produces about 2.43Kg of CO2.
  2. 1 L of Diesel produces 2.64 Kg of CO2
  3. 1 Kg of coal produces 2.7 Kg of CO2.
  4. And, 1 Kg of Biomass produces 0 Kg of CO2

Are All Biomass Fuels Clean?

Biomass is considered carbon neutral because it emits the same amount of carbon when combusted as it absorbs during its lifetime. If it is not utilise as a fuel, it will still emit the same amount of carbon if it decomposes naturally. However, a lot depends on the fuel source, the processing involved, and the method of biomass utilisation.
In India, sustainable forestry is almost a myth. Most (not all) wood-based fuels are derived from illegally procured wood and processed/chipped by mills that don’t even have clearances from forest departments. Also, carbon neutrality is a question in sustainable forestry, and the regrowth of the trees being cut is not always guaranteed. Thus, most wood-based biofuels are not carbon-neutral. Agricultural, industrial and municipal wastes are much better in that sense.

But no fuel is genuinely carbon-neutral. We still use fossil fuels and fossil-derived energy for collecting, processing and transporting biomass. Though the net carbon emissions are much lesser than fossils.
Also, Biomass needs the right combustion system. If the combustion parameters are not well control, it can lead to high particulate and CO emissions. Manual feeding of biomass (e.g., briquettes, wood logs) is often quite polluting. Looking into the above, Steamax created a fuel blend, “Astillas”.

  1. It is manufacture from cashew nut shells which are industrial wastes.
  2. Astillas has better combustion characteristics, high calorific value and low ash content.
  3. It burns more efficiently than other fuels due to its lower bulk density and high calorific value.
  4. It is compatible with most automatic fuel-feeding systems.

Here is the comparison between Astillas and other bio fuels

At Steamax, developing new and cost-effective fuels is the topmost priority. Steamax has developed a compelling blend of fuel- ‘Astillas’ considering all the perspectives. We take charge of your every problem, from equipment to fuel supply to operation and maintenance. Are you ready to make the switch? Contact us today for more information.