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Co-firing of biomass, coal waste and coal in mining sites for electricity generation

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Biomass and future energy needs

Electricity generation is a vital part of everyday life. Yet it also pollutes and depletes the environment. In response to this situation, a group of European researchers produced an extensive study that examines the technological and economic feasibility of utilising both biomass and coal for environmentally friendly and efficient electricity generation.

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Biomass is a source of renewable energy, as it incorporates clean energy from organic matter and plants. Biomass materials used for energy include wood products and waste, agricultural products and wastes, along with a variety of other products such as solid waste. There are many advantages to using biomass instead of fossil fuels for energy generation, including the stimulation of local economies, environmentally friendly processes, and fewer polluting emissions. A consortium of Spanish and Dutch professionals conducted a comprehensive study that analyses the implications of co-firing biomass along with coal and coal wastes for electricity generation. The reasoning was that utilising biomass in such a way increases efficiency, replaces coal at a limited cost, and benefits the environment. The COBIOCOWA project aims to use forestry and sawdust residues in order to incorporate renewable materials into the energy system, help the environment, decrease fossil fuel utilisation, and benefit regional economies. In fact, the researchers examined the factors necessary so as to utilise the most appropriate technology to co-fire biomass and coal in the power plant. Feasibility in terms of technology and economics was a major aspect of the study, and the consortium reached several conclusions. After carrying out laboratory and industrial scale tests and collecting representative information about biomass and coal, optimal biomass products were determined and technological modifications needed for co-firing rather than coal combustion were established. Finally, it was concluded that these modifications are not cost-effective and the benefit of NOx reduction is not substantial, as current regulations do not overview this particular aspect. However, it is important to note that the COBIOCOWA project provides a very good foundation for future energy research in terms of the economical aspect it highlights and the scientific and technological information it provides. As regulations in the energy field change, this study could greatly assist in the successful implementation of co-firing biomass and coal for electricity generation.

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