Biomass theoretically has the potential to meet almost one-third of Turkey's yearly electricity consumption, according to Professor Gunnur Kocar, the manager of Ege University Biomass Energy Systems and Technologies Application and Research Center (BESTMER) told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday.
Speaking exclusively to AA, Kocar said that biomass has a lot to offer Turkey as it can produce biogas, which can be used in the energy sector specifically to produce electricity.
Biogas is derived from the usage of animal waste, and more specifically cattle and poultry waste, into a resource similar to natural gas.
A Biomass Energy Potential Assessment (BEPA) 2020 study shows that because Turkey has approximately 17 million cattle, it could procure almost 120 million tonnes of waste per annum, Kocar explained.
She said that when this waste potential is fully utilized, although this is currently not practically possible, biogas production, equivalent to nearly 4% of Turkey's annual natural gas production, is achievable in theory.
"When a variety of biomass sources are taken into account, such as agricultural and municipal waste along with cattle and poultry waste, biomass offers very high potential to meet one-third of Turkey's annual electricity consumption," she asserted.
Kocar said that modern and technologically mature systems are not as widespread in biomass energy as in solar and wind energy. She explained that biomass energy systems, which have proved technical and economical sufficiency worldwide, have not been fully put into practice in Turkey except for a few biomass plants, despite rich biomass potential and technological infrastructure.
To utilize this potential, she stressed the importance of government incentives and measures, as well as the need to obtain social acceptance of new technologies through education and promotional activity.
“It is very important that the installations, supply of system materials, maintenance and repair activities are being conducted by local institutions to provide continuity [in the biomass systems applications],” she added.
She acknowledged the possibility of producing high added-value energy from only one source of waste but said that modern technologies in the last century have allowed this possibility to be extended to a variety of fuels from biomass sources.
She cited solid biofuels as one of the first examples of this.
"Biofuels that are compressed and shaped into certain forms, like pellets and briquettes, can be used to produce thermal energy instead of wood. In terms of liquid fuels, now biodiesel and bioethanol can be used as an alternative for vehicles using diesel and gasoline," she explained.
Izmir-based BESTMER, which was officially established as a legal entity in February this year, aims to utilize and evaluate the country’s vast biomass energy resource potential, according to Kocar.
She explained that the center was founded in 2014 when it received nearly 6.85 million Turkish liras and 13.5 million liras in grant support from the Izmir Development Agency and Presidency of Strategy and Budget, respectively.
BESTMER follows local and global developments daily and accordingly, analyses and develops R&D infrastructure, she said. “Through joint studies and cooperation with local and international organizations, we try to strengthen our knowledge and experience."
The center carries out studies for its main objectives, including research, technological innovation, implementation, planning, strategy and policy development, consultancy and training of biomass energy. Groups of academics and graduate students at BESTMER conduct experimental and numerical research on biomass energy - from raw materials to end products and its integration into biofuels along with bio-refinery concepts.
BESTMER became an official entity on Feb. 17 this year when the Higher Education Executive Board officially published its acceptance in the Official Gazette.
The Higher Education Executive Board accepted BESTMER as an official entity on Feb. 17 this year when it made its publication in Turkey’s Official Gazette.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu