Monday, January 26, 2015

Biomass and biofuels offer multi-utilization

Biomass can be defined as biological material that originates from living, or recently living organisms, most often referring to plants or plant-derived materials. Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be directly converted to liquid fuels, the so called biofuels. The two most common types of biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel, whose production is constantly growing in the last two decades.

Ethanol is produced by the fermentation of biomass high in carbohydrates through a process that is quite similar to the one of brewing beer. The practical use of ethanol is as a fuel additive to reduce the total vehicle's greenhouse gas emissions.

Biodiesel, on the other hand, is produced by combining alcohol with vegetable oil or animal fat. Biodiesel is also used as an additive to reduce car greenhouse gas emissions and it can be also used in its pure form as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines.

The oil market is more volatile than ever before and because of this biofuels are really among only handful of alternatives to gasoline. The largest ethanol and biodiesel producers in the world are United States and Brazil.

Chinese are also rapidly entering the biofuel market. China has constructed the world's largest fuel ethanol facility at Jilin. This facility uses corn, but Chinese have been already experimenting with cassava, sweet potato and sugar cane.

The increased biofuel production requires adequate support from government. The positive example of the supportive biofuel policy comes from the Germany where Germany government has slashed taxes on biofuel production.

There are many ongoing researches from all over the globe where scientists look for new ways to transform biomass into energy. The key is to find the most cost-effective solution to produce biomass and biofuels, the one that could challenge fossil fuels in terms of efficiency and total costs.

Among most interesting studies is the one coming from the Pennsylvania State University. The researchers at the Pennsylvania State University have developed an electricity generator that is fuelled by human waste. This system is able to produce 51 kilowatts of power from the waste of 100,000 people.

The researches of this kind could be especially helpful to the third world countries that are often lacking funds when discussing new energy options. The notable work in this area is being done at national environmental engineering research institute (NEERI) Nagpur, Maharashtra, India where researchers are developing the use of activated sludge to evaluate its potential as a source of microorganisms capable of producing biodegradable plastics.

The multiple utilization of biomass is one of its main advantages when compared with other renewable energy sources. Just imagine what kind of breakthrough solution for both environment and economy would be if world could transform much of its enormous waste to useful energy. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Payback period of domestic wind turbine system

Wind energy is often being touted as clean and environmentally friendly form of renewable energy, the one that can help clean our environment and protect us from various environmental issues such as climate change. However, when installing wind turbines people are not only interested in going green but they also want to know more about the total needed investment and how to calculate the payback period for the installation of domestic wind turbine systems.

As the global population continues the demand for energy continues to rise. The main problem with this is, of course, that currently our energy needs are being met through the processing and burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. There are two main drawback of our dependence on fossil fuels, for one they are present in limited quantities, and eventually will become exhausted and the second reason is that they are hurting our environment, mostly in form of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and air pollution.

It is no wonder that many countries in the world tend to change their existing infrastructure in order to make the switch to more renewable power in their energy grid.

The first thing when doing the calculation of payback period is to know how much money you are planning to spend on the purchase and installation of your wind turbine system. The best way to achieve lowest installation costs is to look online and contact some local dealers to learn how much it will cost to buy and install a desired wind turbine system at your home.

There are several different factors you should take into account here –these include size, total energy output and construction and transport costs. You can run this analysis on several different wind turbines in order to determine if one is a better deal than the other. Obtaining the information on the cost and the energy production of a wind turbine is a necessary first step in order to calculate the payback period.

In some cases there are available government incentive programs for installation of wind turbines on your property, so it is worthwhile to check with a local dealer to make sure whether you can obtain certain incentives or not. If there are available rebates or tax incentives, then you are able to subtract whatever money you get back from your initial cost expenditures.

The starting expenses needed for the installation of your wind turbine system minus any incentives you might get is your cost for the first year. To calculate saving for the second and next year you need to know the total output of your wind turbine system. To get a plausible estimate, take somewhere around 70% of that number and then multiply your expected energy output by the cost per kWh from your bill. This will show you how much money you can expect to save.

For most people, their initial investment is recouped in between seven and ten years. Since wind turbines have an average lifespan of 20+ years you can save plenty of money on the long run by installing domestic wind turbine system.