Improving Biomass Use Efficiency for Semi-Arid Regions Anupam Tewari* and Ashwani Kumar Kautilya Institute of Technology Engineering* Energy Plantation Demonstration Project CentreDepartment of Botany, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 302004, India. Tel 00 91 141 2654100 Fax 00 91 141 2565905 E-mail: ABSTRACT: Biomass refers to all the matter that can be obtained from photosynthesis. Most vegetable species use solar energy to create sugars from carbon dioxide and water. They store this energy in the form of glucose or starch molecules, oleaginous, cellulose, and lignocellulose .Biomass appears to be an attractive feedstock for three main reasons. First, it is a renewable resource that could be sustain ably developed in the future. Second, it appears to have formidably positive environmental properties, notably the recycling of carbon in the biological processes, resulting in no net releases of carbon dioxide and a very low sulphur content. Third, it appears to have significant economic potential provided that fossil fuel prices increase, quite substantially, in the future. 2.1 SOURCES OF BIO-FUEL: 2.1.1 Biomass can be used in solid or liquid forms. The solid forms of biomass include direct burning of biomass which is most common in rural India as well as burning of cow dung for dung cakes which are also burnt directly or mixed with coal to make round balls of dung and coal powder. 2.1.2 Biofuels in their liquid form, can be classified as as follows: 3.1 . Vegetable oils Unmodified vegetable oils Modified vegetable oils 3.2. Alcohols Bioethanol Biomethanol 3.3. Oxygenated components 3.1.1. VEGETABLE OILS Pure vegetable oils, especially when refined and deslimed, can be used in prechamber, indirect-injected engines such as the Deutz model and in swirl-chamber diesel engines such as the Ellsbett diesel model. They are also usable when mixed with diesel fuels. Pure vegetable oil, however, cannot be used in direct-injection diesel engines, such as those regularly used in standard tractors, since engine cooking occurs after several hours of use. All engine types allow additions of vegetable oils mixed with fuels in reduced and small proportions, but residues and cooking negatively affect short-term engine performance. Some vegetable oils also find application as lubricants and as hydraulic oils. In addition, they can be used in saw machines. In general terms, it is possible to substitute mineral oils for vegetable oils provided that appropriate additives are included. Plant Sources for vegetable oils. Vegetable oil can be obtained from more than 300 different plant species. Oil is contained mainly in fruits and seeds, yet still other origins exist. The highest oil yields can be obtained from tree crops, such as palms, coconuts, and olives, Jatropha Pongamia, Mahua, Salvadora, but there are a number of field crops containing oils. Climatic and soil conditions, oil content, yields and the feasibility of farm operations, however, limit the potential use of vegetable oils to a reduced number of crops. Apart from the previously mentioned semirefined oils, vegetable oils can also be used in the esterificated form. Diesel engines malfunction if an excess of carbon is present in the combustion process. It becomes necessary to split the glycerides causing an excess in the carbon composition. This can be achieved by treating oil with alcoholtransesterification or by cracking procedures. Ideally, transesterification is potentially a less expensive way of transforming the large, branched molecular structure of the bio-oils into smaller, straight-chain molecules of the type required in regular diesel combustion engines. The so called bio ldiesel fuels are oil esters of a biological origin. Rape oil methyl-ester (RME) and sunflower methyl-ester (SME) are two biodiesels derived from their corresponding oil seeds. Jatropha curcas has great potential for India as it can be grown on vast areas of wastelands in the regions having rainfall above 35 mm per annum. 3.2 ALCOHOLS Ethanol is a volatile liquid fuel that may be used to replace refined petroleum. It can be obtained from different feedstocks. Among them are cereals, sugarcane, sugarbeet, and tubers as well as cellulose materials, namely, wood and vegetable remnants, although production in these cases is much more difficult . Attention has been focused lately on other plants such as Jerusalem artichokes, which contain inulin (a fructose polymer), and on converting lignocellulosic materials into glucose to obtain ethanol. The ethanol yield from these products depends mainly on the content in fermentable glucides and on per-hectare yields. Ethanol from biomass can readily be used as a blender in gasoline. To elaborate ethanol, the biomass feedstock is first separtaed into its three main components: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Cellulose is hydrolyzed into sugars, mainly glucose, which are then easily fermented into ethanol. Hemicellulose can also be converted into sugars, such as xylose, but it is difficult to ferment to produce alcohol. Lignin cannot be fermented, but it can be used to provide energy for fermentation processes. There is no chemical difference between ethanol derived from biomass and fossil origin ethanol. Another advantage of ethanol is that is can lower the production of aromatic products found in high octane gasolines. Ethanol is currently produced in two separate ways: synthetic ethanol produced from ethylene derived from hydrocarbon, which is perferred for industrial uses due to the pureness attained (which can reach values of 99.9% in alcohol), and ethanol obtained from the fermentation of plants rich in sugar or starch, a process that is clearly advantageous when using gasoline as a fuel. Calotropis procera and Euphorbia antisyphilitica have great potential as a source of biofuel from the biomass residue obtained after extracting the hydrocarbons with solvent extraction method. Concerning methanol, although it can be produced from a wide range of raw materials (namely, wood, dry biomass in general, coal, etc.), at present, it is mainly obtained by synthesis from natural gas or gasoline. The technology for the production of methanol consists of ‘‘gasifying the cellulosic raw material to obtain a synthesis gas followed by the traditional processes used for fossil fuels whereby the gas is purified and its composition is adjusted for the synthesis of methanol” . The final energy result is more positive when producing methanol because ethanol is a high-cost, low-yield product with problems derived from storage and effects on soil. Also, methanol is less volatile, thereby less dangerous in case of a traffic accident. Unexpected combustion could be extinguished with water, it pollutes less, it has no sulphur content, and it could be tranformed into a high octane gasoline that may be used in countries not ready to employ engines that are fed directly with methanol. That transformation implies a cost, but it would not be excessive. However, the problem with the production of methanol from biomass remains the optimum size of the present manufacturing units, which, having been designed for fossil fuels, are not readily suitable for a very different raw material. 3. POLICIES THAT INFLUENCE BIOMASS USE: Obviously, the evolution of biofuel technologies depends as much on economic opportunities and public policies as on enhanced technological options. It is evident that much of the advancement in technological capabilities in India is supported by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India under mission mode projects supporting development of liquid fuel sources from biomass. Basically the biomass programm must have following five components: 1) Energy R & D strategy, rational use of energy, renewable energies, reduction of environmental impacts of fossil fuels, and dissemination of energy technologies. The energy strategy area includes several sections ranging from global analysis of energy R&D policy options to socioeconomic research in order to understand those factors that foster or hinder the innovation processes of energy technologies. Within this strategy area, important studies on the future of biomass energies, including liquid biofuels, are contemplated with special emphasis on technology dissemination. The rational use of energy area concerns energy efficiency on the demand side of the energy sector. It covers the reduction of energy consumption and stimulating market penetration of innovative, efficient, and clean technologies with a view to reducing dependency on external supplies of energy products and to improving the impact of the use of energy on the environment. The area relative to renewable energies has as its main objective to enable and stimulate the introduction of renewable energies into the energy system, which offer substantial advantages from an environmental protection standpoint, CO2 emissions, and long-term security of energy supply. In addition, new initiatives will be taken to enhance the integration of renewable energies into the economy and society. Included in this area are sections on the integration of renewable technologies in social issues and research on energies from biomass and waste. 4. FUTURE STRATEGIES: It includes multi sectoral and interdisciplinary activities focusing on three main objectives: first, to strengthen the scientific base needed to implement the EU’s environmental policy and permit it to reconcile the notions of human health and safety, environmental protection, and the sustainable management of resources with development and economic growth; second, to contribute to world programs of research into global change; third, to contribute to the development of environmental technologies, techniques, products, and services that meet new needs and could contribute to sustainable economic growth. A number of R&D possibilities for systemic factors pertinent to the future evolution of biofuels production and utilization can be provided by developing effective renewable energy programmes. 4.1 PROMOTION OF FORESTRY AND NON-FOOD SECTOR: The program are the forestry and nonfood sectors of agriculture and their links with the processing industries, together with rural activities, the end-user, and the consumer are very important for the renewable resource development. Integrated production and processing chains, and scaling-up and processing methodologies, both dedicated principally to the nonfood sector and especially to the use of plant raw materials for biomass and bioenergy, such as timber, fibers, carbohydrates, oils, proteins, and specialty chemicals contained in new and traditional crops and trees are needed to be developed intensively. . Included as the first section in the integrated production and processing area are the chains. In addition, the scaling-up processing methodologies refer to biomass energy as well. Additional objectives are to address the problems associated with the transfer of basic or applied research and technology from the laboratory level to the development steps of industrial scale. Obviously, as underscored previously, this is of great relevance for the future development of liquid fuels derived from biological sources due to the fact that the transfer step is normally characterized by major problems and bottlenecks, such as a lack of homogeneity and quality in the raw material supply and a lack of understanding of the basic physical and chemical characteristics and relationships of the biomaterials being processed and produced. Problems such as fluiddynamics, product recovery, heat transfer, flocculation, and so on are common when applied and basic research models are scaled up in the development or pilot-scale phase of R&D. 5.1 EU AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Potential import demand of the EU for biofuels produced in developing coutries like Tanzania, Nigeria Nicaragua and India etc will be influenced very strongly by future developments in concerned public policies. To ensure further uses of biomass fuels and to exploit fully their projected potential, a coordinated multisectoral approach has been advocated. This should provide an effective assessment of the interactions among policies related to agriculture, energy, transport, and the environment and, it is hoped, will avoid contradictory measures. 6.1 BIOMASS HAS POTENTIAL TO MEET ENERGY CRISIS: 6.2 The rise of world oil prices due to the 1973 and 1979 oil crises stimulated the formulation and implementation of new energy policies, so that new renewable energy sources became attractive alternative fuels. The current priority axes of the EU energy policy are and the same could be adapted for India: • to improve energy efficiency, • to secure energy supplies, • to protect the environment, • to push technological innovation, • to guarantee economic and social cohesion, and • to develop international cooperation . These goals are similar to the ones set out by the European Energy Charter : a pan-European forum, whose goal was ‘‘to improve security of energy supply and to maximize the efficiency of production, conversion, transport, distribution and use of energy, to enhance safety and to minimize environmental problems on an acceptable economic basis.” Security of energy supplies results not only from a greater independence from foreign sources but also from the replacement of gasoline by other kinds of energy as a way to secure improved price stability and protection from fluctuation of international energy shocks. Diversification of energy sources and a higher percentage of locally produced energy are goals that can be satisfied by biofuels. 6.2 BIOMASS THE INEXHAUSTIBLE RESOURCE: The inexhaustible nature of biofuels as an energy source is also an important asset for their future potential from the security standpoint. In contrast to fossil fuels, their social acceptance will probably increase in the future provided that some negative possible impacts on the environment are avoided or carefully kept under control. 6. 3 REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS: One of the major themes concerning environment and energy is the proposed directive of EU that establishes a carbon tax on fossil oils in order to keep CO2 emissions levels down. The final goal would be to maintain CO2 atmospheric emissions in the year 2000 at the 1990 level, CO2 being the main cause of the greenhouse effect. Nevertheless, introduction of this regulation is facing strong constraints since the EU’s competitiveness might be reduced if similar steps are not taken by other Western economies such as the USA and Japan (the USA has also demonstrated a willingness to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from the use of fossil fuels). The ALTENER program , which is the main initiative of the EU to support renewable energy, sets three objectives for renewable energy sources in Europe by 2005: • increase the renewable energies market share from 4% to 8% of EU primary energy needs; • triple the production of renewable energy, excluding large hydro schemes; • and secure a biofuels share of 5% of total fuel consumption by motor vehicles. Nonetheless, even when considering optimistic penetration rates such as the one quoted, biofuels cannot solve the security supply problem, since fossil fuels will continue to be the main energy source. Typical ALTENER projects deal with breaking down barriers or establishing new legal, administrative, organizational, economic, or managerial systems. 6.4 DEVELOPMENT OF AGROTECHNOLOGY: A reduction in crop price predicted in accordance with the long-term goal of meeting world prices implies a decrease in crop costs that will surely improve bio fuel competitiveness. 6.5 WASTELAND UTILIZATION FOR BIOFUEL PRODUCTION: In contrast to the European countries where set aside land is used for biomass production the developing countries have over millions of ha of wasteland which could be effectively utilizd for cultivation of Energy crops. The cultivation of biofuels could help rural and retarded economies in two ways: • The represent one additional possibility for the utilization of farm resources, with the end result of raising income and direct employment on the farm. • The manufacturing and commercialization of fuel crops need to be based on the rural communities and must supplement their income. Cultivating crops for energy use on wastelands provides an opportunity to increase the demand for agricultural commodities. This new income will surely improve the material welfare of rural communities and might result in a further activation of the local economy. In the end, this will mean a reduction in emigration rates to urban environments, also and help in environment protection. 7.1 ENVIORNMENT POLICY: Although European Commission has emphasized the, need for change is discussed in terms of ‘‘sustainable’’ development, but there is little agreement on the concept and on operating procedures and criteria. Appropriate management is required on a global scale, which means on national, regional, and community bases. . Since biofuels are crop based, soil depletion, effluents, pesticide, and fertilizer consumption are also aspects to be considered in any environmental assessment. Cultivated feedstocks for biofuels share with agricultural production a variety of shortcomings, usually criticized by environmentalists. These include soil erosion, occupational hazards, loss of ecosystems, excessive fertilizer and pesticide use, monoculture production, and the deterioration of landscapes. If biomass energy is used instead of fossil fuels, however, there is normally a net reduction in CO2 emissions. The extent of this reduction depends on the fossil fuel displaced and the efficiency with which the biomass energy can be produced, which can be measured in terms of energy balances. A reduction of 180 million tons in carbon emissions by the year 2005 could be achieved with a biofuels market penetration of 5% of the total consumption in combustion engines. Sulphur dioxide is a major pollutant causing extensive damage to forests, buildings, health, and so on. Fortunately, SO2 emissions from using biomass energy tend to be considerably lower because relevant plants and trees contain only trace quantities of sulphur compared to much higher emissions from coal, gasoline, and even some natural gas. This drop in SO2 is accompanied by a fall in the level of the other traditional motor pollutant emissions such as carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulates, but these reductions are less easily quantifiable. However, there is an increase in the release of nitrogen oxides and aldehydes. There is no clear advantage to any one of the liquid biofuels, and choices between them will depend on local priorities. If the aim is to move to lower intensity forms of land use, wood production is likely to have significant advantages. If emission abatement per hectare is a priority goal, the liquid fuel with the greatest potential is ethanol from sugar beets. 8.1 CONCLUSION It may be concluded that biofuels may be able to contribute to the attainment of a variety of environmental objectives such as the aim of reducing both local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental concerns of maintaining agricultural land in production with a possible move to lower intensity production of crops. From an environmental point of veiw, however, blended fuels consist primarily of gasoline or diesel fuel, which limits the potential benefits in both emission control and efficiency . 9.1 REFERENCES: (1). Kumar, A and A. Tewari 2004 Improving the Biofuel Utilization Efficiency in the Rural Villages by Modifying the Fire Stove ‘Chulha’ . In: W.P. Van Swaaij, T. Fjallstrom, P. Helm and A. Grassi (eds) Biomass for Energy Industry and climate protection.2544-2547. (2) Kumar, A and A. Kotiya, . 2004. Some Potential Plants for Bio-energy. In: W.P. Van Swaaij, T. Fjallstrom, P. Helm and A. Grassi (eds) Biomass for Energy Industry and climate protection.180-183