Converting raw sources of biomass into high energy green fuels such as Bio-diesels, ethanol, syngas and methanol is the challenge of many engineering companies as biofuels appear the most realistic successor to the fossil fuels of today. In recent years expertise and technologies have developed to either combust biomass more efficiently or to process in a non-combusting fashion. Research and development continues in the fields of Gasification, Pyrolysis and other novel processes.
Scientists and farmers are working on improved strains of Energy Crops. Features sought both by GM and natural breeding programmes include increased carbon content, increased oil yield in strains of sunflower, rape, etc.
Landfill sites have become a core part of the emissions reduction strategy of governments in many countries and techniques to extract and utilise the gas mix are still improving. However, with more organic material being extracted and separated at source, landfills will not be matching past production levels, instead it will be retained locally for treatment such as anaerobic digestion which will deliver a mix of heat, biofuels and electricity.
Co-firing & Combined Heat and Power
These processes are improving in terms of higher quality of end product, but also gaining from the synergy offered by co-generation and Combined Heat and Power systems. Smaller and more economic machines and improved techniques are allowing local generation to prosper in many parts of the rural and agricultural world. The technical improvements to CHP systems and the development of domestic scale CHP units are paving the way for much increased opportunities in this area.