What do you mean by biomass? Biomass is simply a term for materials that come from plants and animals.
Biomass constitutes stored energy and when burnt energy stored is released as heat. It is also called a renewable source of energy. Wood is an excellent example of biomass.
How materials in biomass come from plants? Photosynthesis is a process where plants absorb energy obtained from Sun. Also, this energy got transferred to animals when they eat plants.
Carbon dioxide is released when biomass is burnt; plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make use of it to grow flowers, leaves, stems, and branches.
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Similarly, when plants are burnt, the same carbon dioxide is released into the air. This is the reason why biomass is considered a renewable source of energy.
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Different Kinds of Biomass:
Although there are different kinds of biomass, such as corn, wood chips, and some types of garbage that can be used to produce electricity. Other types can be used as liquid fuels to power cars, trucks, and tractors. Moreover, biodiesel can also be obtained from leftover food products such as vegetable oils and animal fats.
Biomass is the most controversial type of energy that is being used today. In this article, we are going to have a look at the pros and cons of biomass energy.
Pros of Biomass Energy:
- Renewable source of energy
- Reduced dependency on fossil fuels
- Widely available
- Doesn’t produce carbon
- Used in different forms
- Helps to reduce waste
Renewable Source of Energy:
Biomass energy is taken as a renewable source of energy. One of the most significant pros of biomass is that it creates power by utilizing renewable assets. These assets include wood waste, tree build-up, or urban waste.
As a result, biomass uses leftover wood that comes from existing longings or sawmill ventures.
Reduced Dependency on Fossil Fuels:
Fossil fuels are considered a non-renewable source of energy. Examples of these are coal and gas harmful to the environment. The primary purpose of utilizing biomass energy is to lessen our dependence on sources that are bad for nature.
After all, the use of biomass energy is making use of natural materials to provide power.
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Biomass energy can be found easily anywhere in the world. Thus, dry leaves, grass, and trees are burnt to produce energy. Similarly, animal carcasses can also be used to produce energy.
Using these materials reduces the chance of waste that we are sending to landfills. This is why materials obtained from plants and animals are organic and better for the environment.
Used in Different Forms:
Biomass can be used to create different products using different organic matter. It is used to produce methane gas, biodiesel, and other biofuels. Moreover, it can also be used to produce heat or generate electricity by making use of steam turbines.
Helps to Reduce Waste:
Biomass helps with waste management. We also create a huge amount of solid waste using biomass energy. This solid waste contains biodegradable waste, recyclable waste along with other dangerous solid waste. Biomass takes advantage of this waste so that it no longer sits in landfills.
No Production of Carbon:
It doesn’t produce any carbon. Generally, carbon dioxide is released when biomass is burnt. This is unlike burning coal or gas where it is already expelled in the beginning as it is stored for many years.
Cons of Biomass:
Let’s now switch towards the cons of biomass.
- Not 100% clean when burnt
- Rely heavily on natural materials
- Not entirely efficient
- Needs a lot of space
- Leads towards deforestation
Not 100% Clean When Burnt:
One of the most significant disadvantages of biomass is that it creates pollution when burnt. It is true material is organic but burning natural materials such as wood is not safe and clean.
Sometimes they are wrong as pollution that comes by burning coal and other types of energy sources. The burning of biomass obtains many compounds. As biomass is considered a renewable source of energy, still it is hard to claim it as clean or efficient power energy.
Rely Heavily on Natural Materials:
A large amount of natural materials is burnt to produce a considerable amount of power. Indeed wood is a significant source of biomass energy, but a lot needs to be burnt to produce energy on a large scale. Using an excess of wood can lead to deforestation, which is harmful to many plants and animals.
Not Entirely Efficient:
Ethanol is one of the products of biomass but not entirely suitable as compared to gasoline. It has to be combined with gasoline to be used in combustion engines.
Not just this long term use of ethanol is seen as harmful to engines.
Needs a lot of Space:
Plants of biomass energy are found in areas that are considered convenient. Most of these plants are found in urban areas, and they cause a lot of traffic. This also brings a lot of troubles related to pollution.
The last problem that comes with generating energy is how costly this process is. Production of biomass plants is expensive, and even in some cases, costs are not worth the benefits.
Transport and resource gathering expenses are high, and they are increasing continuously by every single day. The truth is that the processing cost of biomass energy is so much expensive than other existing fossil fuels.
While producing biomass energy, material needs to be transported to a plant where it will be processed. The entire process also creates pollution and carbon emission. So, the production of biomass energy is not only expensive but also harmful to the environment.
Sometimes, it is assumed that crops are just planted to produce fuel to provide power to biomass plants. This means that lands used for planting crops are no longer used for food sources.
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Measures are still being made to produce biomass energy without hurting nature and without spending too much money. These days’ scientists are also working day and night on different ways to produce biomass energy to make it more effective and efficient. Just like other alternative sources of energy, biomass comes with its pros and cons.
So, you must go through these pros and cons if looking to generate energy using biomass.