Within the broad spectrum of renewable energies, there’s one that combines environmental protection with a strong social element. Is it really possible to reduce CO2 emissions while offering a direct economic benefit to rural communities? The answer is yes and the explanation for this lies in the name itself: biomass.
Biomass is a clean energy that was very popular in the 1970s and, although in the last decade of the 20th Century, it fell out use in favor of fossil fuels, it is making a comeback, consolidating as a great option for generating green electricity. Biomass basically consists of using organic material as an energy source. This organic material is heterogeneous and can be anything from agricultural leftovers, such as olive stones, dried fruit skins and the waste from pruning vines, to woodchip, pellets or sawdust.
How is biomass processed?
The process of obtaining energy from biomass begins in the field, with the gathering of, say, straw. The straw bales are taken to the biomass plant, where they are shredded at the boiler entrance and are dropped through a grill. There, the combustion of the straw heats water turning it into steam.
This steam, which reaches a temperature of 540°C, is piped to a superheater from which it passes through a turbine connected to a generator and produces electricity. This electricity is transformed and transported by underground cable to the wider grid.
Advantages of biomass
As such, biomass is a cheaper, safer and more efficient source of renewable energy with fewer emissions, which contributes to the maintenance of forests and recycling of agricultural waste.
Rural environments where biomass plants are located also benefit economically from the purchase of straw, helping a sector that has always suffered from high levels of industrialization.
ACCIONA has three biomass plants in operation, which have become benchmarks in southern Europe and directly and indirectly employ hundreds of rural workers.
The power stations at Briviesca (Burgos), Sangüesa (Navarre) and Miajadas (Caceres) produce clean energy for over 130,000 homes and annually burn more than 370,000 metric tons of waste.
Do you want to know more about ACCIONA’s biomass activities? Visit the ACCIONA Energy website.