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The Potential For Biomass in Farming

Biomass energy has the potential to increase energy independence of farms, reduce pollution outputs and even revitalise rural economies. Rural communities can use locally produced crop residues to heat and power homes and industries. Farmers can sell their crop residues, not only offering a way to earn extra income but also a sollution to disposing of their byproducts.

Common examples of biomass residues found on farms include:

Dry residues - straw, husks, nut shells, woodchip/sawdust, animal bedding (poultry litter etc.)

Wet residues - manure & slurries, grass silage

Before combustion can take place, the moisture content must be reduced in many residues. This can be done through a 'drying' process such as active drying or blending.

Active drying - Damp/wet biomass can be dried successfully by using a standard rotating drum dryer.

Blending - Damp/wet residues can be blended with a supply of very dry material, such as dried timber or offcuts from the furniture industry. This material of a lower moisture content will reduce the average moisture value of the batch.

Most biomass is converted to energy the same way it always has been - through burning it. Modern highly efficient biomass appliances produce none or at most, negligible smoke pollution. The heat can be used directly for heating buildings, crop drying, dairy & poultry operations, and industrial processes. It can also be used to produce steam and generate electricity.

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