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Biomass Power, Pros & Cons

Biomass, energy, renewables, electricity, climate change

What all biomass sources have in common: The reduce CO2

There is a wide range of biomass potentially suitable for energy use. However most types of conversion equipment works effectively with a very few types and forms of biomass fuel. Biomass could reach 60% of our total global renewable energy use by 2030!

Although organic wastes, residues and co-products from a range of processes and industries can potentially be used as biomass feedstock, the two groups primarily responsible for producing biomass fuels are forest industries and agriculture including algae.

biomass cycle, Biomass, energy, renewables, electricity, climate change

biomass could reach 60% of our total global renewable energy use by 2030

According to an Irena Report, biomass could reach 60% of our total global renewable energy use by 2030. An extra advantage is that biomass can reduce global CO2 emissions.

There are a number of these options that utilize forestry, agricultural, and even industrial waste (e.g. paper) as well, as trash found in landfills and recycled nutrients from waste water treatment facilities. Not only are these more efficient input sources, but in many cases using them will also help to address waste disposal issue: Waste as Raw Materials!

Pros

  • Really a renewable fuel which is widely available and naturally distributed
  • Low cost inputs, abundant supply
  • Algae absorb carbon dioxide as it grows, it offers nutrients and it has higher energy per-acre than other bio-fuels
  • Low carbon, cleaner than fossil fuels, production is presently scaling up
  • Can convert waste into energy, 24/7

Cons

  • Biomass from wood can lead to deforestation and/or it may compete directly with food production (e.g. corn, soy)
  • Requires (little) water to grow
  • Some methane and CO2 are emitted during production, not totally clean when burned (NOx, soot, ash, CO, CO2)
  • Algae require phosphorus as a fertilizer
  • Overall process can be expensive

 

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