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Biomass. Annual savings in the electrical system.

Biomass is organic matter used as an energy source. By its broad definition, biomass encompasses a wide set of organic materials characterized by its heterogeneity, both by its origin and by its nature.

Biomass has become one of the benchmark fuels in the global energy landscape, at the same level as solar or wind power. Due to the functionality of this matter it obtains considerable characteristics:

  • It is a product that comes from nature.
  • This is renewable energy.
  • It is one of the clean energies because the emission of gases is lower.
  • Production can be man-controlled.
  • It can produce a lot of energy.

Coming from solar energy, biomass can be extracted from different sectors with the generation of waste such as forest waste, woody and herbaceous agricultural waste, waste from forestry and agricultural industries or energy crops (the most important being used to produce energy-taking materials). In this way, the use of biomass will provide the following advantages:

  • It’s a renewable energy source.
  • It can occur locally, resulting in savings in transport and storage.
  • Decreases the amount of gas emitted into the atmosphere.
  • Reduces dependence on oil.
  • It is very helpful in countries that do not have oil fields.
  • The ethanol added to gasoline improves octane andallows cities to be decontaminated by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

Because of all this, the development of biomass can result in net annual savings for the Spanish electricity system and state coffers of almost 3.6 billion euros, according to the report ‘Contribution of next generation biomass to the electricity system in the context of the energy transition‘ of PwC.

From 2014 to 2019, total installed biomass power has grown by 9%, with a total of 857 megawatts (MW) of biomass and 588 MW of renewable waste, which together accounts for about 1.5 gigawatts (GW), 4% of total renewable capacity. Also, in the same period 2014-2019 biomass has generated a total of 5.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, 5% of the renewable generation in that period.

Spain currently has a high potential of biomass, considered the third European country with the highest amount of resources of this matter, however, it is currently in line with the energy use of them.

The report concludes that even meeting the targets set by the 2021-2030 PNIEC, the biomass resource would generate around 10,050 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, representing only 5.8% of the total potential of this energy source.

During the presentation of the report, it was considered that the opportunity to bet on biomass cannot be missed if it is so much to generate quality employment and boost the economy in rural areas and to generate more than sufficient and less expensive energy than that used in the current electricity system.

The use of biomass as an energy resource has advantages and benefits in a wide range of activities. Therefore, more and more companies are constituting biomass plants to try to promote environmental sustainability through the use of these clean energies both in industrial processes (such as projects related to steam and turbine boilers, biodiesel or works with ORC systems) and in the construction of civil works.