Powering an Entire Country With Renewable Energy – focus on biomass

by Dave

This Sietch blogger has done some calculations relevant for the US. Can be extended to other countries. What intrigued me was his reference to biomass – India and Latin America, are a veritable bounty for biomass with their extensive tree cover, not to mention livestock populations. The potential in India alone is something like 16,000 MW. I think current generation is only around to 1000 MW.

Below are examples of
- a biomass stove developed in India for institutional-scale cooking
- where cow dung is processed in a “bamboo gasifier” to yield fertilizer
- foodwaste used to generate biogas in urban settings! (e.g could be installed in favelas)

As this article mentions, to really scale up renewables what is lacking is not technology but political foresight and will. There are a lot of people getting rich off the petroleum business who want to continue with the status quo and are paying politicians – through lobbying/outright bribes to ensure that.
The Sietch Blog »

Biomass, to put it simply, is anything that grows that you can burn. This includes things like left over farm waste, switch grass, wood chips from logging, sugar cane waste and things like municipal yard wastes. It also includes things like pig, cow , and maybe even human excrement. When you get a lot of poo together you can digest it using bacteria and then burn the resulting methane gas. Biomass is great because you can store it up and burn it when you need it.

As you can see there are plenty of places all over this nation that produce a lot of biomass, and this map does not include the potential for human/pig/cow/chicken waste gas creation. With a little rail transport, and a couple of storage areas we would be all set. Biomass is one of the easiest to implement technology because when it comes right down to it, its just burning stuff.

But wait you say, isn’t burning stuff dirty and going to cause more global warming? Well lucky for us biomass is carbon neutral. All the carbon put into the air by burning the plant waste, is the same carbon the plants sucked up, so you are just recycling the carbon already in the air.

Nishant Bioenergy, India, Efficient biomass cookstoves

VK-Nardep, India, Biogas plants and improved fertiliser

ARTI, India, Biogas from food waste

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