Free Essay Sample: Bioenergy and Its Environmental Properties

Published: 2022-05-03
Free Essay Sample: Bioenergy and Its Environmental Properties
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Energy
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1812 words
16 min read


Environmental conservation is an essential topic in the current age and time. M-Global as a pioneer in the fight for environmental conservation needs to bear the full responsibility for promoting environmental protection. The company primarily focuses on the environmentally friendly initiatives. The first activity focuses on the definition and description of alternative energy, majorly bioenergy such as biodiesel. This activity will highlight the production and benefits of biodiesel towards environmental conservation. The second activity has focused on the alternative energy process where instructions on how to install a solar panel are discussed. All the procedures from the contract signing to the final stage which involves interconnection has been discussed in details. The third and final activity is a memo that proposes to the company management to add bike racks and expand the existing locker rooms. This is done to motivate more employees to use bikes as their means of transport to work. This is a strategy to encourage environmental conservation, reducing the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere. I believe that the activities play an important role in protecting the environment.

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Activity A: Defining and Describing Alternate Energy (Activity #3)

Bioenergy is generated from biofuels which are produced directly or indirectly from organic elements known as biomass. Generally, bioenergy comprises 10 percent of the overall world energy. Biofuels are retrieved from agricultural crops, comprising of food plants or energy plants. At the same time, they can be derived from fishery products, agro-industry products or forestry. Biodiesel forms part of the biofuel that is used in place of diesel energy made from petroleum. This can be made from vegetable and animal fats. Biodiesel is regularly mixed with petroleum diesel in ratios of 2%, 5% or 20 % (Pandey, 2011). At the same time, it can be blended with pure biodiesel and used as bioenergy in normal diesel engines without any changes to the engine. On its transportation and storage, biodiesel can be stored and transported using fuel tanks.

Benefits of biodiesel

The bioenergy has numerous environmental properties. Its primary benefit is that it is labeled as a 'carbon neutral' which means that during combustion, there is no net output of carbon in a structure of CO2. This is linked to the fact that when oil crops grow, it absorbs an equivalent amount of CO2 as released during combustion. A significant amount of CO2 is released during the production of fertilizers used in the fields where oil crops are cultivated. Similarly, it is important to note that fertilizer productions do not singularly lead to pollution linked to biodiesel production, but there are other sources such as esterification process (Knothe, Krahl & Van Gerpen, 2015). Nevertheless, all the process require energy input either through electricity or fuel, both of which lead to the release of greenhouse gas. To evaluate the effects of these sources, a technique known as life cycle analysis is applied.


Based on the definition, biodiesel can be extracted straight from animal fats, waste oils or vegetable oil. However, the basic routes towards the manufacture of biodiesel from oils and fats include; base catalyzed transesterification, direct acid transesterification and conversion of oil to fatty acids and ultimately biodiesel. It is essential to note that each biodiesel is extracted using base-catalyzed transesterification since economic process needs only low temperature and pressure to obtain high conversion yield. Straight vegetable oil (SVO) is also applicable as fossil diesel, but its application can result in fairly serious engine issues. Since it has a high viscosity, it leads to poor atomization, incomplete combustion, ring carbonization and accretion of fuel in the engine lubricant (Aransiola et al., 2014). The problem can be sorted through Transesterification.

Transesterification involves the reaction of the fat/oil with alcohol components to create esters and glycerol. Since the fat/oil has glycerine particle as its base, the formation of biodiesel will be initiated. The attributes of the fatty acids influence the characteristics of biodiesel, and in the process, they react with alcohol elements in the presence of a catalyst, usually a strong alkaline such as sodium hydroxide. Alcohol bonds with the fatty acids to create mono-alkyl ester or biodiesel. In many production plants, ethanol is used with the catalyzed as sodium hydroxide or potassium. The success of transesterification is often signified through the separation of glycerol used in the reaction and ester. Heavy glycerol will settle out.

The research on biofuels has been a continuous process as the final conclusions are yet to be made. As part of biofuels, bioalcohol is also gaining attention through its role in preventing pollution. Even though there are some inconveniences attached to bioalcohol, there is a need to spend more time in exploring the potential in promoting environmental conservation.

Activity B: Alternative Energy Processes (Activity #4)

Many homes are already connected with solar energy as many more homeowners consider installing in the coming years. Solar panel installation involves five steps that should occur after signing a solar contract and before the panels are installed on the roof to provide power at home. But before the commencement of the entire process, it is fundamental to have a broad overview of the process (McPheeters, 2015). Nevertheless, the installation process doesn't work overnight since there exist processes that must happen in order to get the panels ready to start producing power. From the day of signing contract with the installer, the process can take up to three months before the solar panels are connected to provide energy. This will also depend on other factors such as the availability of financial and human resources.

Site visit: This is the initial step towards the installation of the solar system, soon after the solar contract is signed. This can be through lease, cash or a power purchase contract. An engineer visits the site to assess the electrical status of the infrastructure where the solar panels are to be installed and ensure all requirements are met in line with the new energy regulations and the energy system in context (Rothschild, Humphrey & Schnakenberg III, 2015). The engineer can be subcontracted or work under the installer. At this stage, the condition of the roof is evaluated to ensure that the structure can harness maximum sunlight. The electrical panel (grey box at the basement) is examined to see if there is a need to upgrade or change. In case the electrical panels have a mechanical issue, they are upgraded. This implies that they will require additional amps of current plus an increase of ampere capacity of the electricity box.

It is important to note that the engineer site visit is different from the general site visit that occurs when the installer assesses the property considering the system size, the type of the roof, the shading and the sunlight angle in relation to the position of the house. This is often done before any contract signing. Subsequently, even though the engineer typically visits the site, in some instances the installer can take photos of the house and undertake their measurements and the engineer goes ahead to get started with the installation process.

Licenses and documents: This is the second step of the installation process and involves the logical paperwork needed to start the solar panel installation. In any big financial decision, solar panel installation has numerous paperwork. However, a lot of the paperwork is handled by the installer, but it is often a good idea to understand the essence of the papers. Some of the things applied involve incentives such as clean energy financing initiatives, government rebates, and energy certificates.

Other than the incentives, there is additional paperwork such as building permits which, are specific to the place of residence. For instances, some policies require roof to have at least three feet of clear space that surrounds the solar panels. The installer needs to understand the restrictions and requirements set in areas where they operate and help figure the permits needed. The timeline for this step often depends on the duration the installer takes to get it all finished and submitted. For a quick installation, follow up with the installer to hasten the paperwork.

Make an order for the equipment: After acquiring the licenses, the installer will be able to place an order through the main distributor for installation. At this stage, a decision has been made on the equipment the system will include. This happens before the solar system contract is signed.

Nevertheless, in case of advice on how to select the equipment, two primary components can be evaluated. This involves the solar panels and the inverters. The installer will make a recommendation of a particular brand for each component. In the process, there is a need to consider durability, aesthetics, and efficiency to choose the best solar system.

To be sure on the appropriate equipment, more time can be spend researching on the microinverters, power optimizers and string inverters then look into the best rated in the market. Evaluation of the equipment helps in ordering and shipment and the installation process (Zuritis, 2016). After the equipment is ordered, the property is added to the installation queue. The panels and inverters will be received on the installation day, but this depends on the projects the installer has in the queue.

Installation: This is the real installation, and the installer begins by preparing the roof and ensuring that the tiles are properly attached. Thereafter, an electric wire is fixed between the panel and the general power system. After the wiring, the racking is installed to support the panels. Once the racking has been installed, the panels are carefully placed into the racking. Then the inverters are wired to the panels to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current which is used at homes and on the electric grid.

Installation timeframe varies from one to four days depending on the size of the system being installed. Other factors that can add time to the installation process is the installation of a power meter.

Interconnection: This is the final step of the installation and is the official commencement to generate power. Before connecting the solar panel to the electric grid, a government representative need to review the system and make recommendations based on the set regulations to approve. After the inspection, an official grid interconnection is issued to go live.

Activity C: Memo Proposal to Encourage Pedal Power (Activity #7)


Date: April 7, 2018

To: Mike Smith

From: Mail Room

Subject: Encourage Pedal Power through the expansion of Locker Room

This memo highlights the subject matter. As a result of the inadequacy or a limited number of automobile, some employees have a preference for bicycles. However, there are some challenges when choosing the bikes as their means of transport. First, there is no political and cultural spirit to preach to the public on the importance of bicycles and that it is normal. People do not ride bikes on the streets with traffic and opt to load the bikes onto cars with special b...

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