Biomass Energy

Livestock plays a significant role in Mauritania's economy, with an estimated 22 million heads of livestock distributed among camels, cows, and small ruminants such as goats and sheep. This presents an opportunity to utilize animal waste as a source of clean, cheap electricity and organic fertilizer. By implementing appropriate technologies to convert animal waste into biogas or other forms of renewable energy, the country can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and lower its carbon footprint. Additionally, the production of organic fertilizer from animal waste can help to improve soil health and boost agricultural productivity.


Biomass provides 10 percent of global energy use

Currently biomass covers approximately 10 percent of the global energy supply, of which two-thirds is used in developing countries for cooking and heating. Sep 19, 2013

There can be many advantages to using biomass instead of fossil fuels for power generation, including lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy cost savings, improved security of supply, waste management/reduction opportunities and local economic development opportunities. However, whether these benefits are realized, and to what extent, depends critically on the source and nature of the biomass feedstock

» Biomass feedstocks: These come in a variety of forms and have different properties that impact their use for power generation.

In order to analyze the use of biomass for power generation, it is important to consider three critical components of the process:

» Power generation technologies: There is a wide range of commercially proven power generation technologies available that can use biomass as a fuel input.

» Biomass conversion: This is the process by which biomass feedstocks are transformed into the energy form that will be used to generate heat and/or electricity.

Biomass Feedstocks

The source and sustainability of the biomass feedstock is critical to a biomass power generation project’s economics and success. There are a wide range of biomass feedstocks and these can be split into whether they are urban or rural . A critical issue for the biomass feedstock is its energy, ash and moisture content, and homogeneity. These will have an impact on the cost of biomass feedstock per unit of energy, transportation, pre-treatment and storage costs, as well as the appropriateness of different conversion technologies. Bioenergy can be converted into power through thermal-chemical processes (i.e. combustion, gasification and pyrolysis) or bio-chemical processes like anaerobic digestion.

1. The total installed costs of biomass power generation technologies varies significantly by technology and country. The total installed costs of stoker boilers was between USD 1 880 and USD 4 260/kW in 2010, while those of circulating fluidized bed boilers were between USD 2 170 and USD 4 500/kW. Anaerobic digester power systems had capital costs between USD 2 570 and USD 6 100/kW. Gasification technologies, including fixed bed and fluidized bed solutions, had total installed capital costs of between USD 2 140 and USD 5 700/kW. Co-firing biomass at low-levels in existing thermal plants typically requires additional investments of USD 400 to USD 600/kW. Using landfill gas for power generation has capital costs of between USD 1920 and USD 2 440/kW. The cost of CHP plants is significantly higher than for the electricity-only configuration.

Typical Capital Costs and the Levelized Cost of electricity of Biomass Power Technologies

2. Operations and maintenance (O&M) costs can make a significant contribution to the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) and typically account for between 9% and 20% of the LCOE for biomass power plants. It can be lower than this in the case co-firing and greater for plants with extensive fuel preparation, handling and conversion needs. Fixed O&M costs range from 2% of installed costs per year to 7% for most biomass technologies, with variable O&M costs of around USD 0.005/kWh. Landfill gas systems have much higher fixed O&M costs, which can be between 10% and 20% of initial capital costs per year.

3. Secure, long-term supplies of low-cost, sustainably sourced feedstocks are critical to the economics of biomass power plants. Feedstock costs can be zero for wastes which would otherwise have disposal costs or that are produced onsite at an industrial installation (e.g. black liquor at pulp and paper mills or bagasse at sugar mills). Feedstock costs may be modest where agricultural residues can be collected and transported over short distances. However, feedstock costs can be high where significant transport distances are involved due to the low energy density of biomass (e.g. the trade in wood chips and pellets). The analysis in this report examines feedstock costs of between USD 10/tonne for low cost residues to USD 160/tonne for internationally traded pellets

4. The LCOE of biomass-fired power plants ranges from USD 0.06 to USD 0.29/kWh depending on capital costs and feedstock costs. Where low-cost feedstocks are available and capital costs are modest, biomass can be a very competitive power generation option. Where low-cost agricultural or forestry residues and wastes are available, biomass can often compete with conventional power sources. Even where feedstocks are more expensive, the LCOE range for biomass is still more competitive than for diesel-fired generation, making biomass an ideal solution for off-grid or mini-grid electricity supply.

5. Many biomass power generation options are mature, commercially available technologies (e.g. direct combustion in stoker boilers, low-percentage co-firing, anaerobic digestion, municipal solid waste incineration, landfill gas and combined heat and power). While others are less mature and only at the beginning of their deployment (e.g. atmospheric biomass gasification and pyrolysis), still others are only at the demonstration or R&D phases (e.g. integrated gasification combined cycle, bio-refineries, bio-hydrogen). The potential for cost reductions is therefore very heterogeneous. Only marginal cost reductions are anticipated in the short-term, but the long-term potential for cost reductions from the technologies that are not yet widely deployed is good.

Biomass power plant diagram

Biomass energy potential in Mauritania

Mauritania has a large livestock wealth is estimated at more than 22 million heads, distributed as follows: 1.4 million head of camels; 1.8 million head of cows; 19.3 million head of small ruminants (goats and sheep).

Investing in the establishment a biomass power plant project to produce electricity and organic fertilizer in Nouakchott.

In the capital, Nouakchott, there are several large livestock markets. In these markets, thousands of herds of camels, sheep and goats are presented daily.
The areas of these markets contain thousands of tons of unused and renewable organic waste , To understand the extent of the wasted potential, in not exploiting this available energy, it is sufficient to see the satellite images of these markets, where the dark areas in the images form the accumulation of animal droppings.

Nouakchott camel market

The camel market is located east of the capital, Nouakchott, on the "Amal" road. It is a market that extends over several hectares and is a center for collecting camels and sheep coming from the interior regions and the Mauritanian countryside.

Total area: 174,291.49 m² (1,876,058.01 ft²) covered with organic waste

Nouakchott sheep and goat market

The sheep market in Nouakchott extends over an area of more than seven hectares, where thousands of heads of cattle are traded daily

Benefits of establishing a biomass power plant in Nouakchott

1- clean electricity production.

2-Production of high quality organic fertilizer for export.

3-Create direct employment opportunities at the power plant.

4- Converting animal waste into material value.