The increased prices for traditional energy sources make biofuel use for household and industrial purposes increasingly relevant. This article will consider the basic characteristics and types of biofuel.
Why is biofuel needed?
The history of the global biofuel market goes back several decades. Back in the days of the first oil crisis in the 1970s, humanity began to think about the search for alternative energy sources that could replace traditional hydrocarbon fuel. However, the market conditions of that time (relatively low compared to current oil prices) and the imperfection of technologies significantly reduced the commercial attractiveness of biofuel projects.
The modern biofuel market began to take shape in the last decade. Among the factors that led to its development, there are political, environmental, and social factors. Among them are:
the desire to reduce the dependence of individual states on oil imports, which guarantees them economic benefits and, at the same time, greater political freedom;
compliance with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, which provides for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;
the need to develop the agricultural sector of the economy, create new jobs, etc.
The essence of biofuel
Biofuel is an alternative energy source for vehicles with internal combustion engines. Following biofuel definition, it is fuel from biological raw materials, similar in energy characteristics to conventional fuel types. Unlike organic fuel, which is made from minerals (oil and gas), biofuel is obtained from processing grain and other starchy crops, oils, and biological waste. According to modern research, bioethanol can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30-80% compared to gasoline engines. It is because plants, in photosynthesis, can process the carbon dioxide produced by the combustion of bioethanol in car engines. And these plants, in turn, are used in producing renewable fuel – bioethanol. So this process is often called a “closed carbon cycle.”
What are the types of biofuel?
Like the main types of petroleum-based fuel, energy sources of plant origin are divided into three types:
Bioethanol is an alcohol substitute for gasoline produced from grain crops, sugar beets and corn, soybeans, and sugar cane. Several types of gasoline are made from it. For example, E5 consists of 95% gasoline and 5% biofuel, E10 has a proportion of 90% / 10%, respectively, and E85 – 17% gasoline and 83% biofuel. E100 consists of ethanol (96.5%) and water (3.5%);
Biodiesel is produced from rapeseed oil and palm oil. There are three categories of diesel mixtures: B5, B7, and B10, where the number is the percentage of vegetable oils. These types of fuel belong to the so-called “first-generation biofuel.” It is made directly from plants, so it is considered a renewable resource and, in some regions, a relatively cheap and reliable source of energy;
Biogas and other biofuel types belong to the “second generation.” Biogas is a replacement for natural gas obtained from waste from livestock farms and garbage that has undergone a process of decomposition without oxygen with the participation of bacteria. It is a synthetic fuel from biomass, such as organic waste, straw, or cellulose. In terms of characteristics, it is more similar to fossil fuels. What are the advantages of this type of fuel? For its use, internal combustion engines practically do not require changes.
Biofuels advantages and disadvantages
Biofuels have advantages such as reducing carbon emissions and being readily available from locally sourced materials. They also have disadvantages such as the high cost of production, the competition with food production, and the negative impact on biodiversity due to land use change. Another disadvantage of biofuels is that they have lower energy density compared to traditional fuels, which reduces their efficiency. Despite these drawbacks, biofuels remain a promising source of energy that can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and promote sustainable development.
Until now, biofuels occupy a small share of the energy market. So, about 90% of global biofuel consumption is bioethanol and biodiesel. Other alternative options are characterized by low competitiveness due to the high cost of production. For example, in the USA, the level of consumption of alternative automotive fuel is only 4-5%, approximately the same figure in Europe.
Today, bioenergy confidently takes the place of the world’s renewable energy leader, playing a significant role in replacing fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This article is an overview of the leading Biofuels and BioEnergy companies.
Global prospects of bioenergy
During the last 20 years, the world’s primary energy supply from biomass and biofuels has increased by a third. It accounts for about 10% of the total primary energy supply or almost 70% of PES from renewable sources.
In modern, highly efficient production conditions, humanity produces an incredible amount of waste of biological origin. Chips, pellets, briquettes, and gases – these and many other biofuels that have undergone processing, after processing, are used to generate energy. This raw material is environmentally friendly and generates electricity and heat – individually and jointly (cogeneration). It is a relatively young technology: it was developed at the same time as the first biofuel companies appeared. Bioenergy received the greatest development in the countries of the European Union. However, companies worldwide are converting their boilers to exclusively organic fuel.
Widespread implementation of bioenergy solves a number of important tasks. First, it provides the population with the necessary energy, making enterprises, regions, and countries energy-independent. Secondly, it nullifies the problem of safe disposal of waste, many of which are toxic. Thirdly, this method makes it possible to provide clean energy to the most remote points of the globe because its use does not require special geographical and climatic conditions.
Green giants: the top 5 largest Biofuels companies
The USA, Brazil, China, India, Germany, and Sweden are currently the leading bioenergy generators in the world. China, India, and Great Britain account for more than half of the world’s total expansion of bioenergy potential. Second-generation biofuels are more popular in China. Now scientists are actively working on developing a new type of energy production from algae. By 2020, China plans to produce up to 12 million tons of aviation biofuel annually. So, let’s analyze 5 largest biofuels and bioenergy companies:
Orsted is a Danish company that designs, builds, and operates offshore wind farms. In addition to Denmark, Orsted offshore wind farms are installed in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Taiwan. The company also has bioenergy projects – converting old coal-fired thermal power plants into modern ones operating based on biomass. It wants to become carbon neutral by 2025.
Siemens Gamesa is a Spanish wind energy company that sells onshore and offshore wind turbines, turbine gearboxes, and other related equipment. It provides maintenance and repair services. The company serves customers worldwide and has installed its products and technologies in over 90 countries.
The 740 MW Ironbridge power station in North Gare, UK, is the world’s largest biomass-fired power station, and the Vaskiluodon Voima plant in Finland is the world’s largest biogas plant.
The Kernel company continues to implement a program to increase the energy efficiency of production assets and preserve natural resources and will allocate USD 170 million to these needs. Currently, the energy carrier at the Kernel oil extraction plants is steam produced in boilers fueled by husk biomass.
Great Plains is a large bioresources processing company. The company processes secondary organic products, primarily corn, into biofuels, corn oil, animal feed, and industrial alcohols. Given the harsh and arid conditions for growing crops, Great Plains offers modern and innovative technology to apply liquid fertilizers individually for each seed.
What is energy management, why changing the entire system is better than changing individual elements, and how an already efficient enterprise can start saving additional energy with an efficient energy management system? In this article, you will find answers to all these questions.
The purpose of the energy management system
The active development of industry and the gradual reduction of non-renewable natural resources, and, as a result, their high cost, have led to the fact that energy efficiency in the world has long been mandatory for every company that wants to work in a modern way and make a profit. Therefore, implementing the standard of energy management systems in industry is important today. Its main goal is to organize the implementation of procedures for sustainable and efficient energy use in industry.
The energy management system is a part of the overall management system of the enterprise, which includes the organizational structure, management functions, duties and responsibilities, procedures, processes, and resources for the formation, implementation, and achievement of energy conservation policy goals. In addition, the energy management system of an agricultural enterprise is a complex of organizational, technical means, and software-methodological support, which together allows managing the production process in such a way that only the minimum necessary amount of fuel and energy resources is consumed for the production of a certain amount of products or services.
Among the tasks that are solved in the energy management system, it is appropriate to include the following:
developing a policy for more efficient use of energy;
determination of specific energy use goals of the enterprise;
identifying the priority of energy use goals, their order, and the sequence of solutions;
formation of the enterprise’s energy strategy;
determination of the necessary resources and sources of their provision for the implementation of the energy strategy;
establishing control over the performance of assigned tasks.
Forming an energy management system following the ISO 50001 standard begins with defining an appropriate energy policy. However, most practitioners note the need to create favorable conditions at various levels, from local self-government bodies to the local community, for the development and implementation of the system since the successful implementation of any program and strategy is possible only with the support of a wide range of participants.
Types of energy management system
There are several types of energy management systems, each with its own unique features and benefits. Some of the most common types of energy management systems include:
Building energy management systems (BEMS): These systems are specifically designed to optimize the energy usage of commercial and industrial buildings. They typically include a range of sensors, meters, and controls that enable building managers to monitor and control heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting systems.
Industrial energy management systems (IEMS): These systems are used to optimize energy usage in industrial processes, such as manufacturing, mining, and oil and gas extraction. They typically include sensors, meters, and controls that enable operators to monitor energy usage and optimize processes to reduce energy consumption.
Home energy management systems (HEMS): These systems are designed to help homeowners manage and optimize their energy usage. They typically include smart meters, energy monitoring software, and controls that enable users to monitor and control heating, cooling, lighting, and other household appliances.
Demand response management systems (DRMS): These systems are used by utilities to manage energy demand during periods of peak usage. They typically include software and controls that enable utilities to communicate with customers and adjust energy usage in real-time.
Enterprise energy management systems (EEMS): These systems are designed to help organizations manage energy usage across multiple sites or facilities. They typically include software and controls that enable managers to monitor energy consumption and optimize energy usage across the enterprise.
Energy management system benefits
Energy management provides benefits on many levels: in addition to saving money due to optimization of consumption, the systems also ensure higher reliability of infrastructure and industrial enterprises by monitoring electrical networks and power quality. At the same time, systematic power monitoring increases awareness of energy consumption. When integrated into open cloud systems, such as MindSphere Internet of Things, the optimization increases even more. The energy management system provides a reliable basis for regular energy audits and an operational energy management system following the ISO 50001 and ISO 50003 standards for implementing, maintaining, and improving energy management systems.
The effect of implementing the energy-saving mechanism as a constantly operating system at the enterprise will, of course, be greater than implementing individual organizational or technological measures. However, this will be done under the condition that energy conservation becomes part of the overall management system of the enterprise, which regulates the processes of generation, transmission, and consumption of energy. The objectivity of making management decisions and adjusting the energy strategy depends on the effectiveness of the energy-saving mechanism.The path to energy efficiency begins with energy management. It is the tool that will allow you to optimize energy costs in buildings and reduce energy consumption without significant capital investments. So, how does it work?
Importance of energy management
World practice shows that increasing energy efficiency is achieved mostly due to organizational changes in the energy management system of an enterprise or city. By implementing an energy management system, you can achieve significant energy savings of 3-5% in 1-2 years without major financial losses.
Energy management is a managerial activity aimed at the rational use of energy resources during the operation of energy resources, taking into account economic, technological, technical, constructive, social, and environmental aspects. At the same time, the main goal is to ensure the effective implementation of energy-saving measures (energy-saving strategy) within the framework of the general strategy of the business entity.
The energy management system is a part of the overall enterprise management system, which includes the energy consumption system, energy management functions, duties and responsibilities, procedures, processes, and resources for forming, implementing, and achieving energy conservation policy goals. One of the components of effective energy conservation management is control over the use of energy resources, which includes an energy audit, which involves determining the efficiency of the use of fuel and energy resources and developing recommendations for its improvement.
Principles of energy management include a set of measures aimed at saving energy resources:
energy consumption monitoring,
development of energy budgets,
analysis of existing indicators as a basis for drawing up new budgets,
development of energy policy,
planning of new energy-saving measures, etc.
Common functions of energy management
The main functions of energy management are:
energy use planning – the process of learning objective cause-and-effect relationships between energy and other factors of production in agriculture by modeling (designing) them for a certain period;
organization of energy use – the process of division, grouping, and coordination of work, types of activities, and resources to achieve the goals set concerning energy use;
motivation of energy use – a set of internal and external driving forces that motivate a person to energy-saving activities, determine behavior, and forms of activity, give it direction, and orient towards achieving the goals of the organization regarding effective energy use;
energy control (energy audit) – control activity at the enterprise to ensure qualitative analysis and energy assessment of the functioning of the energy system.
Main directions in the energy saving
All over the world, the issue of energy saving is becoming more and more urgent. It is not only an economic benefit for consumers and a reduction in the load on electrical networks but also, which is extremely important, the preservation of the environment for our descendants.
Energy conservation does not involve giving up the benefits of civilization or limiting one’s own needs, but the way of rational use of energy resources, obtaining a greater volume of useful work of electrical appliances at the expense of the same amount of electricity.
In general, the improvement of energy technologies in any country affects the following equipment:
heat-generating systems (central heating installations, boiler units, furnaces);
heat distribution systems (substations, underground and overhead heat pipes);
thermal insulation of buildings, pipelines, hot water tanks, and heat exchangers;
ventilation equipment of buildings;
equipment for power generation (electrical installations, air units, hydro turbines);
power supply systems;
electrical installations, consumer, and control devices.
In addition, it is necessary to create a legislative framework and a new infrastructure, supplement relevant knowledge and methods, change people’s attitudes to energy consumption, and increase the volume of certain information provided to all participants in the process.