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What is biomass? Explain the principle and working of a biogas

plant using a labelled schematic diagram

Science - Exemplar Problems



Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. It most often refers to plants or plant-based materials which are specifically called lignocellulosic biomass. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: thermalchemical, and biochemical methods.

Biogas is produced as a result of anaerobic fermentation of biomass in the presence of water.

The various forms of biomass are mixed with an equal quantity of water in the mixing tank. This forms the slurry.The slurry is fed into the digester through the inlet chamber.When the digester is partially filled with the slurry, the introduction of slurry is stopped and the plant is left unused for about two months.During these two months, anaerobic bacteria present in the slurry decomposes or ferments the biomass in the presence of water.As a result of anaerobic fermentation, biogas is formed, which starts collecting in the dome of the digester.As more and more biogas starts collecting, the pressure exerted by the biogas forces the spent slurry into the outlet chamber.From the outlet chamber, the spent slurry overflows into the overflow tank.The spent slurry is manually removed from the overflow tank and used as manure for plants.The gas valve connected to a system of pipelines is opened when a supply of biogas is required.To obtain a continuous supply of biogas, a functioning plant can be fed continuously with the prepared slurry.
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