Biomass energy is considered to be an alternative energy source because it isn’t fully reliant on fossil fuels to create power. It is created when organic materials are burned to create steam from a centralized water source, which then turns a turbine so that energy can be created.
Many coal-fired power plants can be quickly and easily converted into either a full biomass energy solution or a cooperative solution so that fossil fuels do not need to be consumed at the same rate. Here are some more interesting facts about biomass energy to consider.
1. Biomass energy is the largest form of renewable energy in Europe.
This is because biomass can be anything that is organic. Energy crops, agricultural products, and forestry residues are common forms of biomass. Waste products, such as lawn clippings, can also be turned into biomass energy.
2. It can contribute to carbon dioxide reduction.
Through cultivation and production methods that are controlled and sustainable, biomass energy can help to reduce the number of greenhouse gas emissions that are generated to create power. As technologies improve, more checks and balances can be included within the chain of energy production so that the process can be more efficient. As an added benefit, biomass does not produce mercury or sulfur.
3. This form of energy gives us the security of supply.
Biomass energy can be converted into stable forms of heat and electricity. It can be sourced in small or large scales of volume. This creates a form of energy fuel that can be geographically diverse, making it more resilient to unpredictable factors, such as political risk.
4. Humans have used biomass energy from the beginning of known civilization.
Ever since the first human figured out how to create fire, we have been using biomass energy in some way nearly every day. Whether we burn wood for heat or use it for cooking, we are using a form of biomass energy.
5. Human waste can be used as biomass energy.
Any waste product can be converted into biomass energy. This includes animal waste and even human waste. Municipal solid waste products that are currently landfilled can become a highly effective energy source if the right equipment to process those materials is in place so it can be transformed.
6. It currently meets about 10% of our total energy needs.
In Europe, about 4% of total electricity production comes from biomass energy. When wood-burning stoves and other biomass energy creation products are considered, the total global usage of this resource is at 10% of current needs and continues to grow.
7. Ethanol is a form of biomass energy.
This is because ethanol is created from corn. Because corn can be grown season after season, ethanol is also an alternative energy resource. Brazil and the United States are currently leading the world when it comes to producing ethanol and other fuels that use biomass energy processes, such as bio diesel.
8. Algae may unlock the future potential of biomass.
When compared to other fuels that are made from more traditional crops, algae can produce fuels up to 10 times faster. The fermentation of algae has been proven to produce fuels such as butanol, methane, hydrogen, and biofuels intended for vehicular use.
9. The largest biomass plant in the world today can produce up to 265 megawatts of power.
This biomass facility is located in Finland. Not only does it produce an impressive amount of electricity, but it is also responsible for producing heat for its local community. Since many biomass products, like grasses, can also help to create soil stability, it is a process that can reduce nitrogen runoffs and potential eliminate the threats of ongoing erosion.
10. The amount of fuel that biomass products can create is extraordinary.
If the developed world invested resources into the production of biomass energy, they would be able to produce an equivalent amount of fuel to what the OPEC nations produce in crude oil on a daily basis.
11. It has the potential to be a carbon neutral form of energy.
Not only do sustainable practices need to be utilized, but so do fast-growing biomass crops through the use of environmentally friendly equipment. Switchgrass and alfalfa are two leading crops that could produce plenty of fuel. Poplar and eucalyptus trees are also under consideration for biomass crop production.
These interesting facts about biomass energy prove that there is potential in this idea, but our technologies and knowledge may not yet be able to make the most out of it. As we continue to refine this resource, it may become a very lucrative way of creating the energy we need.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.