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Biomass Assessment for Potential Bio-Fuels Production: Simple Methodology and Case Study

United States is experiencing increasing interests in fermentation and anaerobic digestion processes for the production of biofuels. A simple methodology of spatial biomass assessment is presented in this paper to evaluate biofuel production and support the first decisions about the conversion technology applications. The methodology was applied to evaluate the potential biogas and ethanol production from biomass in California and Washington states. Solid waste databases were filtered to a short list of digestible and fermentable wastes in both states. Maximum methane and ethanol production rates were estimated from biochemical and ultimate analysis of each waste and projected on a GIS database. Accordingly, the optimal locations for methane and ethanol production plants were approximately determined.

The available net power for transportation and electricity generation was evaluated considering three process efficiency factors in the waste to power life cycle. The net power from methane and ethanol would ultimately cover ~ 6 - 8% of the transportation needs for motor gasoline or cover ~ 3 - 4% of the electrical power consumption in each state.

U. Zaher
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U. Zaher
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Journal of Solid Waste Technology & Management