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Alternative Energy Resource: Biomass Essay

738 words - 3 pages

Biomass is a biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms. In the context of biomass for energy this is often used to mean plant based materials, but biomass can equally apply to both animal and vegetable derived material. Biomass is considered to be one of the key renewable resources of the future at both small and large scale levels. It already supplies fourteen percent of the world’s primary energy consumption. Growing Biomass is a rural, labor-intensive activity, and can, therefore, create jobs in rural areas and help stem rural to urban migration. Biomass is carbon based and can be composed of different mixtures of organic materials such as, Hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and also small quantities of other atoms, which are mainly metals. For plants, carbon used from biomass is absorbed from the atmosphere as carbon dioxide using energy collected from the sun, during their process of photosynthesis. Plants may be eaten by animals and is then converted into animal biomass. If plant material is not eaten it is generally either broken down by some microorganisms, or burned, such as fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), which comes from biologic material. But remember there is a difference between the two, because biomass is not fossilized material (Like oil, coal, and gas) but fresh material that can grow again after being harvested. Today biomass is used to produce power and heat in large-scale facilities: solid biomass, biogas, biofuel, or biodiesel. Biogas is a gaseous fuel, made when methane, produced by the fermentation of organic matter. Biofuel is fuel derived directly from living matter, and biodiesel is a biofuel intended as a substitute for diesel.
Biomass power, or biopower is the use of biomass to generate electricity, heat or steam required for the operation of a refinery. These system technologies consist of, direct firing, cofiring, gasification, pyrolysis, and anaerobic digestion. Forest biomass as of the moment, is the most expensive fuel for the power plants and the market structure will not support transport of much more than fifty miles from the forest to the biomass power plant. States such as North Carolina use, Switch Grass, Popular,...

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