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Energy that is Derived from Natural Processes

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Renewable energy is defined as the ‘energy that is derived from natural processes (e.g sunlight and wind) that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed’. In this article we are going to have a brief look at a type of renewable energy known as ‘Bioenergy’.

Bioenergy is the energy derived from biological sources to generate electricity and heat, or to produce liquid fuels for transport. Biomass is any organic matter of recently living plant or animal origin. It is available in many forms such as agricultural products, forest products, municipal and other waste. Bioenergy is the single largest renewable energy source today, providing 10% of world’s primary energy supply, according to IEA (International Energy Agency). Bioenergy can be broadly classified into two categories i.e Biomass and Biofuel.

Biomass materials are used since millennia for meeting myriad human needs including energy. Main sources of biomass energy are trees, crops and animal waste. Until the mid 19th century, biomass dominated the global energy supply with a seventy percent share. Despite its declining share in energy, global consumption of biomass energy has continued to grow. Biomass is a renewable energy source not only because the energy in it comes from the sun, but also because biomass can regrow over a relatively short period of time compared to fossil fuels. With the continuing scarcity of the different sources of energy, biomass continues to remain a reliable source of world’s energy supply. There are various uses of biomass. The wood and wood processing wastes can be burned to heat buildings, produce process heat in industry and to generate electricity. Agricultural crops and waste materials are burned as fuel or converted to liquid biofuels. Food, yard and wood waste are burned to generate electricity in power plants or converted to biogas in landfills. Animal manure and human sewage is converted to biogas which can be burned as a fuel.

Another form of bioenergy are the biofuels. They are the fuels derived from biological sources which are used as an alternative to diesel and petrol. The two major biofuels are biodiesel and bioethanol. Biodiesel is a product obtained by converting organic oils to diesel fuels by mixing with base and alcohol. Biodiesel is a fuel that can be used in all diesel engines made from vegetable oil and not modified. There are many advantages to using biodiesel as vehicle fuel. There is less emission in the biodiesel, it does not affect motor performance and it is obtained from plants. The principle fuel used as a petrol substitute for road transport vehicles is bioethanol. Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process, although it can also be manufactured by the chemical process of reacting ethylene with steam. Bioethanol has a number of advantages over conventional fuels. It comes from a renewable resource i.e crops. By encouraging bioethanol’s use, the rural economy would also receive a boost by growing the necessary crops. Bioethanol is also biodegradable and far less toxic than fossil fuels. It can also be distributed using the same petrol forecourts and transportation systems as before.

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Energy that is derived from natural processes. (2019, January 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from
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