Biomass is any organic matter-wood, crops, seaweed, animal wastes-that can be used as an energy source. Biomass is probably our oldest source of energy. For thousands of years, people have burned wood to heat their homes and cook their food.
Biomass gets its energy from the sun. All organic matter contains stored energy from the sun. During a process called photosynthesis, sunlight gives plants the energy they need to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and sugars. The sugars, called carbohydrates, supply plants (or the animals that eat plants) with energy. Foods rich in carbohydrates (like spaghetti) are a good source of energy for the human body!
What can this Type of Energy be Used For?
As organic waste decomposes it slowly emits methane gas and carbon dioxide. Biomass power plants take advantage of this process to turn waste into fuel that generates electricity. During the electricity generating process, the methane gas is eliminated, and carbon dioxide emissions are greatly reduced.
What are the Positive Aspects?
Because it is not affected by changes in weather or environmental conditions, Biomass power is an extremely reliable renewable energy source. Biomass can produce a steady and dependable flow of electricity 24 hours a day, and seven days a week
What are the Negative Aspects?
The biomass power industry removes over 68.8 million tons of forest debris annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the risk of forest fires. In addition, the biomass industry diverts millions of tons of waste material from landfills and open burns.
What Percentage of US Energy Comes from this Technology?
Paragraph. Biomass sources provide about 3 percent of all energy consumed in the United States. In 2002, biomass supplied about 47 percent of all renewable energy consumed in the United States. Electric generation from biomass (exluding municipal solid waste) represents about 11 percent of all generation from renewable sources in the United States. In fact, biomass supplied more energy to the nation in 2002 than any other form of renewable energy, including hydroelectric power. Biomass supplied almost six times the energy of geothermal, solar and wind energy sources combined. Globally, biomass meets about 14 percent of the world´s energy needs.