Combined Heat & Power Technology in France: Ken Research


Biopower is a fuel produced through modern biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion. Biopower is derived from biomass which is obtained from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and animal wastes. Renewable biopower generally involve existing carbon fixation that occur in plants or microalgae through photosynthesis. Biopower is a renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. Biomass is any organic material that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. It includes wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other by-products from a variety of agricultural processes. French renewable power sources also include wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), small hydropower (SHP), biomass, biogas and geothermal.

Biopower is recognized as crucial element of the French future energy needs and without which the reduction in greenhouse gases is impossible. Green chemical engineering and sustainable industrial technology aims at the biopower research at macro level and advances in green chemistry. Environment friendly chemical synthesis and processes such as green catalysis, green solvents and reagents, atom-economy synthetic methods are used to produce biopower from renewable resources. Excess Biopower generated is stored in batteries. Biopower is a progressively explored area as an alternative source of fuel to preserve energy security in France. The only direct substitute for fossil fuels is biofuels and biopower that has great importance, despite a significant slowdown in investments. Biomass is a renewable source of carbon where solar energy is stored and can be processed into convenient solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels.

According to the study “Biopower in France, Market Outlook to 2030, Update 2017-Capacity, Generation, Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE), Investment Trends, Regulations and Company Profiles”, the increasing use of biopower across France is one of the key factors that is also encouraging the growth in aviation fuel market. France has made policies to encourage the use of biofuels or biopower in the aviation industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Advanced biopower is generated from lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues or waste. Advanced biopower technologies are introduced due to the limitations in the first generation biopower procedures. First generation processes are convenient but the biofuel yield is not enough without including food supplies and biodiversity. Therefore, advanced biofuels procedures resolved these complications and witnessed yield in greater proportion of biofuel affordably, sustainably and with larger environmental interests.

Biomass is a renewable source of fuel to yield biopower in France because waste residues will always prevail in forms of scrap wood, mill residuals and forest resources and properly directed forests will always have additional trees, invariable crops and unconsumed biological matter. Biogas is a mixture of various gases generated by the disintegration of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. It is manufactured from raw matters such as agricultural waste, municipal waste, manure, plant material, green waste, sewage or food waste. Biogas is a renewable energy source and exerts a limited carbon footprint. Biogas is also manufactured by fermentation of biodegradable materials or anaerobic digestion with anaerobic organisms, which disintegrates material inside an isolated system. Biogas is methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) with small traces of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), siloxanes and moisture. The combusted of biogas with oxygen is a fuel that can be utilized for any heating purpose, such as cooking. It can also be used in a gas engine to transform the energy in the gas to electricity and heat.

Several new technologies are introduced in France to convert biomass into bioenergy or biopower. Thermal Conversion, thermochemical conversion, biochemical conversion, and chemical conversion are four such technologies. Ethanol is the most widely used biofuel worldwide. Ethanol is used in petrol engines as a substitute for gasoline; it can be blended with gasoline to any concentration. Today’s petrol engines can operate on a mix of up to 15% bioethanol along with petroleum/gasoline. A biorefinery is a center where biomass conversion processes occurs and has equipment to manufacture bio-fuels, bio-power, bio-heat, and bio-chemicals from biomass. Biorefinery takes advantage of the various parts in biomass and their intermediates to produce various bio products. This refinery manufactures high-volume liquid transportation fuel such as biodiesel, biopower and process heat using combined heat and power (CHP) technology. These products are profitable, helps meet energy needs, and the power production aids to lower energy costs and minimize greenhouse gas emissions from conventional power plant facilities. These bio-refineries are yet to be fully accomplished in many regions in France. Future biorefineries may play a vital role in yielding chemicals and materials that are traditionally extracted similar to fossil fuel petroleum.

France is one the largest biopower manufactures in Europe. France has requested for biopower policy stability for sustainable conventional biopower and biofuel producers until the year 2030.  Researchers state that oilseed crops are demanded to give a more accurate results in the biopower and biofuel sector while reflecting the environmental sustainability of biodiesel. The International Energy Agency (IEA) in France states that modern biopower is an essential for the future low carbon energy systems and to meet the climate change commitments to help in decarbonising few sectors such as aviation, shipping and long haul road transport. This technology roadmap published by the IEA in France re-examines the role of biopower and bioenergy in view of the changes in the energy sector over the past five years. The recent experience in French bio-energies policy, market development and regulation has a huge impact on the country’s power sector. It was observed that the biopower sector in France will continue to upgrade in clean fuels with a sky rocketing growth over the coming years.

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