Biomass is an ecological friendly way to use what we have around us to create alternative sources of energy. Biomass energy does not require the use of fossil fuels and can also be very cost effective alternatives that also help the impact we have on the environment.
Biomass is any living or recently living plant or animal material that can be used as fuel.
This can be:
- downed trees,
- grass clippings,
- plant materials
- or even solid waste.
The biomass is then utilized to generate electricity by burning or converting to bio fuel.
Biomass energy reuses what we already have available and may have overlooked.
There are many advantages to biomass
Less Fossil Fuels More Farmland
The first and most obvious is that biomass energy can utilize a variety of sources that are not fossil fuels. Biomass is everywhere! The material can be everything from leaves to animal waste. The second is that we can use crops that are very easy to grow to utilize in the creation of biofuel. Crops that are not suitable for human consumption can be utilized for such fuel rather than an oil source. Unused land in rural areas can also be cultivated to be used for biofuel.
Biomass is Easy to Turn into Fuel
Biomass fuels are estimated to currently provide 1.4% of the U.S. electrical supply. The ability to use biomass energy creates the ability to avoid the use of traditional energy sources, primarily oil. This continued use of available resources helps to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. Biomass fuels can also be easily converted to portable fuel sources like alcohol (ethanol). This technology to convert biomass to these fuels has vastly improved in the last few years, which has contributed to the ease that it is now created.
There are a few disadvantages to using biomass.
The burning of any carbon based material might result in the release of carbon monoxide gas into the atmosphere if a great deal of material is burned. This is a con of biomass energy because the increase of carbon monoxide is believed to be the leading cause of global warming. In addition, by utilizing crop materials like corn, it drives up the price of food for the industries that use this material in food production. Finally, it is more costly to create chemical biofuels than to use fossil fuels at this point in time. There is hope that this process will become more cost effective in years to come