5.5 Energy Sources: Biomass

Author: Chenjing Zheng

ABSTRACT: This presentation discusses biomass energy which has become a possible alternative source to avoid or mitigate the global consumption of fossil fuel which could help nature preservation attempts implemented by public authorities.

Image credit: Biomass Energy Production

MAIN:

The term biomass energy refers to the energy that comes from renewable organisms, particularly plants and animals. This repository of energy could become a great alternative to the status quo hydrocarbon fuel energy used today since it is renewable. In other words, unlike fossil fuels that usually come from non-renewable sources like crude oil, biomass energy replenishes itself in a shorter time. In addition, biomass energy is also useful for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted from fossil fuel as well. This is surely a great opportunity to be more aware of the attempts for energy conservation.

Biomass energy itself is produced through several processes, including direct combustion, thermochemical, chemical, and biological. The direct combustion technique is done to produce heat which can be used for various purposes, like heating water and buildings. The thermochemical process produces gases and some forms of liquid energy. Meanwhile, the chemical process, including the conversion of vegetable oils and animal fats, to produce biodiesel that could be used for vehicles. The biological process helps convert biomass into ethanol which can be turned into natural gases.

Considering how significant biomass energy is to the effort of reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emission that may damage the environment, it is understood that energy is quite important for environmental preservation practices. Biomass energy indeed functions as a great alternative to fossil fuel and encourages sustainable development. Thus, this energy could help organizations and governments to reduce their energy consumption. In addition, this type of energy also promotes the development of agricultural economies in certain areas as well, since biomass energy requires constant agricultural sources to be secured.

Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons with the production and utilization of biomass energy. Some of the pros include the fact that this energy is renewable, meaning that the energy will continuously be available from time to time. So, there should not be any apprehension regarding the availability of the energy (this is quite an important benefit given the recent energy shortage events in Texas – the 2012 Texas Energy Crisis). Another advantage of biomass energy is that it is quite affordable since the process of converting biomass into energy could indeed be done through simple processes.

Meanwhile, the disadvantages of biomass energy include the fact that some of the processes, particularly the direct combustion activity, releases carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the air, which may lead to air pollution.

The advantages and importance of biomass energy should become an encouragement for businesses and households to start converting their consumption from fossil fuel to biomass energy. We need to be aware of the negative impacts that fossil fuels inflict to the environment and understand how biomass can mitigate these risks.

RESOURCES:

EERE (n.d.). Biomass Resources. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/biomass-resources.

eia (2020). Biomass explained. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/biomass/.

Tweedale, A. (2020). Biomass energy: what is it and how does it work?. Retrieved from https://www.ovoenergy.com/guides/energy-sources/bio-fuels.html.

Zafar, S. (2020). Importance of Biomass Energy. Retrieved from https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/a-glance-at-biomass-energy/.

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