Biomass refers to organic matter like plants and animal waste. The common biomass materials include alfalfa, aspen, corn stalk, husk, straw, etc. They can be used as fuel to take the place of traditional fossil fuel (i.e. coal, gas, etc.). The properties of these materials shall be elaborated in the following.

Property of Biomass Fuel

Biomass
Moisture
BTU/lb
Ash
Sulphur
Alfalfa
(leaf and stem)
 12.25%
 6934 – 7729
 7.94% – 9.06%
0.195% – 0.22% 
Aspen 
 6.02%
 7786 – 8501
 2.48% – 2.67%
 0.02% – 0.02%
Corn Gluten
 12.06%
 7199 – 8097
 3.78% – 4.30%
 0.33% – 0.375%
Corn (Shell)
54.5 lb/bu
 13.43%
 6924 – 8100
 1.13% – 1.23%
 0.11% – 0.13%
Corn (High Oil)
56.2 lb/bu
 12.49%
 7398 – 8480
 1.17% – 1.34%
 0.095% – 0.11 %
Corn (Waxy)
56.6 lb/bu
 13.09%
 7073 – 8113
 1.26% – 1.44%
 0.12% – 0.135%
Corn Cob
 7.12%
 7369 – 7911
 2.16% – 2.32%
 0.04% – 0.04%
Corn Stalks 
 9.14%
 7057 – 7768
 6.18% – 7.64%
 0.035% – 0.04%
Dried Distillers Grain w/solubles
 9.27%
 8459 – 9422
 4.13% – 4.16%
0.4% – 0.45% 
Dried Distillers Grain w/o
 13.35%
 8473 – 9848
 1.96% – 2.24%
 0.34% – 0.4%
Hardwood Pellets
 7.08%
 7955 – 8573
 0.34% – 0.36%
 0.01% – 0.01%
Oats
 12.49%
 7143 – 8242
 3.17% – 3.58%
 0.135% – 0.16%
Soybeans
 10.25%
 8783 – 10230
 5.19% – 6.22%
 0.29% – 0.33%
Straw – Wheat
 8.26%
 6839 – 7375
10.40% – 11.33% 
 0.07% – 0.075%
Straw – Oat
 6.91%
 7153 – 7626
 7.90% – 8.49%
 0.05% – 0.055%
Sugar Beet Pulp
 9.70%
 6597 – 7345
 3.80% – 4.31%
 0.14% – 0.16%
Sunflower Hulls
 8.65%
 8474 – 9654
 2.86% – 3.13%
 0.14% – 0.15%
Wheat Middlings
 12.58%
 7228 – 8415
5.18% – 6.00% 
 0.15% – 0.17%
Wheat
 10.38%
 7159 – 8063
 2.08% – 2.28%
 0.2% – 0.22%
























Typical Calorific Values of Fuels

Fuel
Net Calorific Value
(CV) by mass
GJ/tonne
Net Calorific Value
(CV) by mass
kWh/kg
Bulk density
kg/m3
Energy density
by volume
MJ/m3
Energy density
 by volume
kWh/m3
Wood chips
 (30% MC)
12.5
3.5
250
3,100
870
Log wood
(stacked - air dry: 20% MC)
14.7
4.1
350-500
5,200-7,400
1,400-2,000
Wood (solid - oven dry)
19
5.3
400-600
7,600-11,400
2,100-3,200
17
4.8
650
11,000
3,100
Miscanthus
(bale - 25% MC)
13
3.6
140-180
1,800-2,300
500-650
House coal
27-31
7.5-8.6
850
23,000-26,000
6,400-7,300
Anthracite
33
9.2
1,100
36,300
10,100
Heating oil
42.5
11.8
845
36,000
10,000
Natural gas
 (NTP)
38.1
10.6
0.9
35.2
9.8
LPG
46.3
12.9
510
23,600
6,600

 

 Benefits of Using Biomass Pellets 

While being used to provide heat for home users, commercial enterprises (like hotels) and institutions (like hospitals and schools), pellet fuel made from biomass has a lot of benefits compared to traditional fuel like oil, coal and gas.
Biomass like ordwood, wood pellets, wood chips, waste paper, along with dozens of agricultural by-products, etc. all can be used as fuel. The most compelling advantage of biomass is that it is renewable and energy-savin. Given proper management on forestry and agriculture, biomass is virtually limitless, and has been proven to be at stable price. The environmental benefit of the pellet fuel is that it turns readily available waste products into clean and efficient energy.

First, the moisture content of pellets is substantially lower (4% to 8% water, compared to 20% to 60% for raw biomass). Less moisture means higher BTU value and easier handling especially in freezing situations with green raw biomass materials.

Second, the density of pellet fuel is substantially higher than raw biomass (40 lbs. per cubic foot vs. 10-25 lbs. per cubic foot in raw material form). More fuel can be transported in a given truck space, and more energy can be stored at your site.

Third, pellets are more easily and predictably handled. Their uniform shape and size allows for a smaller and simpler feed system that reduces costs. This high density and uniform shape can be stored in standard silos, transported in rail cars and delivered in truck containers. Pellets pose none of the explosion risks or environmental pollution from spills as nonrenewable fossil fuels do.

The remarkable consistency and burn efficiency of pellet fuel produces a fraction of the particulate emissions of raw biomass. Pellet burners feature the lowest particulate matter emissions of all solid fuel burners.
In addition, biomasss pellets are
•  convenient and easy to use, and can be stored in bulk with less space occupied, compared to other biomass fuel
•  with high content of energy
•  a kind of clean-burning renewable fuel source
•  produced from such waste materials as forestry residues and sawdust
•  at stable price compared to fossil fuels
 

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