In parallel with swift economic growth, energy demand and consumption grow at a faster rate. Like other countries, Malaysia heavily relies upon fossil fuels as their primary energy source in generating electricity. At production level in 2005, it is proven that oil reserves in Malaysia are expected to last another 19 years while natural gas reserves are expected to last for about 33 years (“Apec energy demand,”). Hence, a crucial move needs to be done to diverse energy source in order to delay the energy depletion as well as to meet the current energy demand.
Referring to Figure 1.1, Malaysiaââ‚¬â„¢s primary energy demand is projected grow at an annual rate of 3.5 percent, to reach 146.7Mtoe in 2030, a 2.6-fold increase from 2002. Energy demand continues to rise in order to meet the rising electricity demand (“Apec energy demand,”).
In addition, combustion of fossil fuel in electricity generation contributes significantly to air pollution as it emits greenhouse gases which lead to global warming. Referring to Figure 1.2, electric power consumption (kWh per Capita) in Malaysia was reported at about 800 in 1985, at 3428 in 2008 and finally risen up to 3613.53 in 2009 (“Electric power consumption,” ). This also indicates that the rate of GHGs emission rises over years. Some renewable energy sources such as solar energy, hydropower and biomass are promising alternative energy sources in reducing the dependency of fossil fuel and to diversify energy sources, as well as to reduce pollution to the environment.
The future success of bioenergy developments in Malaysia depend on many factors, such as the policy framework conditions, the availability of suitable and high efficient conversion technologies, the long term and cost effective biomass fuels supply security, and the impacts on environmental and social issues.
Malaysia is a tropical country and the climate is providing an excellent environment for biomass production. Also, Malaysia is known as one of the leading producers of paddy and is endowed with abundance of agricultural biomass resources. Bioenergy is the most important renewable energy in use today. The demand for biomass as energy source will inevitably increase over time, putting pressure on fuel supply security and associated topics. If sustainability requirements do not receive the necessary consideration, this pressure might affect pricing for agricultural products and food security supply aspects too. For this reason, the use of agricultural residues as energy sources offers a promising opportunity to promote the future development of bioenergy utilisation. Since using agricultural residues as energy sources will not interfere with food security, such fuels will meet the requirements for a future sustainable based energy supply.
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Normally, paddy cultivation leaves a huge amount of paddy waste such as paddy straws and paddy husks. Although there are a few methods in reusing paddy straws, such as animal feed, cooking fuel, a significant amount of paddy straw remains unused and in order to get rid of the paddy waste, open burning of paddy waste is the most common way, contributing environmental and safety issues, such as air pollution and fire disaster. However, paddy waste is a very useful organic material in producing biogas through anaerobic digestion, thus providing an alternative use and mitigating the pollution problems.
In order to utilise biogas produced by paddy waste, conversion techniques have to be technically efficient, economically competitive and environmentally friendly.
Biogas and its Potential of Paddy Waste
Biogas is generated by the digestion of biodegradable organic wastes in the absence of oxygen, so called anaerobic process. A range of organic wastes can be used as raw materials for the production of biogas; they are agricultural wastes, animal manure, sewage sludge and many more. The major component of biogas, which is methane, is nowadays considered as one of the most important source of energy for heating and electricity generation as well as vehicle fuel.
Aims and Objectives
As a whole, the aim of this project is to study the production and utilisation of biogas from paddy waste. Several specific objectives are listed as follows:
To review current status of energy demand and consumption in Malaysia.
To understand the technologies available for biomass power plant, develop and incorporate a concept of sustainable process in the current technologies.
To determine process equipments sequence and create process flow diagram.
To perform process mass balances through the simulation of the entire system.
To access safety and health factors in designing and minimise impacts to the environment.
To consider other factors for a successful and sustainable system and operation.
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