Biomass is a valuable physical mass of biotic factors and ideally suited for the energy generation in different forms for the fulfillment of human demands over time. Even though deep ground fuel resources of biological origin satisfy it comprehensively, the way it is oxidized today on a time scale for energy production alarms the world by a phenomenon called “Global warming”. It forces us to scan for a suitable and sustainable alternative to fossilized biomass and the answer lies with surface dwelling, active biomass which is derived either from live or dead sources for power generation.
Biomass can be subjected to power generation by combustion principle which is exactly followed for fossil sources and also is found to have a greater flexibility to generate power than conventional sources. Besides combustion, biomass is readily amenable for gasification where energy as power, heat and synthetic fuels can be derived. Biomass based power proves to be highly profitable under conditions where natural resources such as wood from forests, agricultural and animal sources etc are at abundance. India is a potential hub for this alternative route of power generation but currently holds a marginal fraction of 2650 MW out of its total installed capacity of 172000 MW. It utilizes bagasse co-generation system as its major option for biomass based power production with a capacity of 1411.53 MW achieved till June, 2010.
It is important to note that biomass based power is multi-dimensionally advantageous as follows Rural economic upliftment, Suited for rural areas, Ability to have small kW scale power production, Distributed generation, Carbon neutral, Efficient utilization of renewable biological sources and accession of low cost resource.