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Renewable Energy - Biomass

Developing countries burn 400 million tonnes of animal dung each year. If this had been used to fertilize the soil instead, an extra 20 million tonnes of grain could have been produced.

Increasingly in industrial countries, industrial waste and crops grown specifically as energy crops represent growing biomass sources. The concept includes municipal solid waste that contains a large organic fraction of domestic waste.

The Environment Protection Act of 1990 established emissions limits; waste gases from incineration have to be cleaned before discharge.This involves cooling the gases therefore heat recovery for reuse has become an integral part of burning waste.

The South East London Combined Heat & Power Project (SELCHP) was constructed in 1994 and burns approximately 420,000 tonnes of municipal waste generating 165 GWh of electricity per year.

In Europe set-aside land is increasingly being used for biomass crops including managed woodland coppicing. traditional use of biomass declined sharply in developed countries during the industrialisation process due to the switching to fossil fuels (coal and oil).

Large scale use of biomass is now taking place because of non-renewable resource availability, energy security and environmental concerns.

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2002 Edition