The biomass energy component (previously the improved cook stove (ICS) component) of ESAP Phase 2 began in March 2007 and will run for five years with a realigned development objective.
During ESAP Phase 1 and the bridging phase, the ICS component was one of the most successful in achieving its objective and meeting dissemination targets. It has been focused on improving fuel wood efficiency and addressing gender and health issues through ICS programmes in the mid-hills.
ESAP Phase 2 provides a more comprehensive approach towards overall biomass energy development that supports the achievement of the long-term development objectives of poverty reduction, social justice, and the empowerment of the rural population. In addition to promoting ICS, the BESP component has an objective of working on strengthening biomass energy policy, build institutional capacity and promote decentralization in the rural energy sector.
In Phase 2 BESP has broadened its scope of its work and included all major biomass energy technologies i.e. technical support for biomass briquettes, bio-fuel and gasifiers including improved cook stoves. It has also broaden its coverage area by including improvement of cooking stoves at hotels, restaurants, schools, army barracks, and religious centers across the country.
What is Biomass Energy?
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. In this context, biomass is commonly plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce heat. For example, forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), garden waste and wood chips may be used as biofuel. However, biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.
Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm. The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect the processing of the raw material.
Although fossil fuels have their origin in ancient biomass, they are not considered biomass by the generally accepted definition because they contain carbon that has been "out" of the carbon cycle for a very long time. Their combustion therefore disturbs the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.