Many people think that the term ‘biomass energy’ is something new but it’s one of the oldest forms of energy in the world. It’s also one of the greenest, cheapest and easiest to extract energy from. Not only will you save huge amounts of money but you will contribute to helping the environment too, when you use it. There are so many benefits and ways to generate biomass energy that it’s crazy to think that fossil fuels and other non-renewable sources of energy are still being used today.
To explain what biomass energy is, you first need to understand what biomass is. Biomass is the organic matter found in crops, trees and other plant material. It derives energy from the photosynthesis process from the solar energy that plants use to create sugars, carbohydrates, cellulose and starches from carbon dioxide. Those carbohydrates are the result and even if the sun isn’t shining, it’s still created.
Many industries and household waste produce so much biomass that it can take care of the energy that we require. Paper, agricultural waste, construction debris, municipal solid wastes and lumber mill scrap can all harness so much energy that we need to use more of it. As it’s generally waste, biomass energy is one of the most renewable sources of energy in the world. It’s much better to rely on waste than non-renewable energy sources or foreign oil and energy.
The main benefits of using biomass energy is the lack of dependence a country needs to depend on foreign fuels and power, the huge cost savings and it helps protect the environment massively. By using biomass energy, you can also protect yourself against future government legislation and policies as you’re already providing yourself with green energy.
How Biomass Energy Can Make a Huge Impact on the Environment
Not only can you take advantage of the tax credits, government grants and help from environment groups if you start to use biomass energy rather than non-renewable sources of power, but you can make huge savings, protect the environment and stop relying on external sources of power. Biomass energy is the smart choice when it comes to green energy and green fuel that more and more people are catching onto the fact of how great it really is.
The biological and organic matter that we use every day generates huge amounts of energy through photosynthesis; a naturally-occurring process that happens with plants and organic matter. This process converts carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and energy that can be used for many uses. As you can grow more and more crops that are used for biofuel, which are called dedicated energy crops, it’s one of the best and most renewable resources of energy in the world. It’s not only carbon neutral but many people have seen it be carbon negative as it consumes so much carbon dioxide. This incredible way of producing energy makes you wonder why we use so much non-renewable energy sources still!
There are three major forms of biomass energy that are available to us: solid, liquid and gaseous. Solid biomass is created from incinerating wood or plant products; liquid biomass are fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol; while gaseous biomass are made from methane and landfills. Any type of combustible organic matter can be utilised and turned into energy. Over recent years there has been a marked increase in the bioenergy technology industry with energy-rich fuels such as biogas, biodiesel, bioethanol and biofuel all being available.
As far as fuel is concerned, biomass energy is one of the best forms of energy we can harness. In fact, coal, gas and oil are biomass fuel that was created millions of years ago from plant matter being compressed by the earth for us then to burn. As we can use biomass energy, the greener kind not fossil fuels, for much of our heating and energy used for cooking from the combustion of biomass, we can effectively replace non-renewable energy sources which are running out of supply and therefore are becoming more and more expensive.
As heat is just one form of energy, we're mostly interested in fuel for vehicles and electricity. Biomass energy is therefore burned to create heat, which in turn produces steam that turns turbines to create electricity. As most electrical generation is made from direct combustion, this is a much greener way of producing energy. Biomass can be co-fired with oil so that less fossil fuel can be used in the process and more biomass used instead. The only downside to biomass energy is the land that is needed to grow the crops, which could be used to produce food instead. The war of food versus energy rages on with that aspect.
While there is a cost to producing biomass energy from using land to grow crops and trees, as well as turning it into usable energy can be high, the environmental impacts are far lower than that of fossil fuel energy. It’s not as potent pound for pound for creating energy as fossil fuels are, but it’s a step in the right direction. Coupled with other forms of green energy and renewable sources of energy, it’s certainly something that we should use more of and spend more time learning and working out ways if utilising more from the earth than we do at this present moment. As an alternative energy source, biomass energy is definitely something that can make an impact on the environment.