Biomass energy is derived from organisms such as waste, wood, alcohol fuels, hydrogen gas, etc. In short, biomass refers to plant-based material which is harnessed for the generation of electricity and production of heat. Also, plants which are still alive can also be attributed as living biomass. Elements which are listed as sources of biomass include dead/decayed trees, branches, tree stumps, wood chips and garbage. Plant and animal matter, wastes which are regarded as biodegradable also included in the concept of biomass. What biomass does not include is any form of organic materials such as fossil fuels.
Advantages of Biomass Energy
The primary and perhaps one of the most important advantages of using biomass energy is reduced level of air pollution. This matte contains less sulfur, when compared to coal and other fossil fuels. Due to this, biomass energy, like other forms of renewable energy sources, lack emissions of too much of harmful gases in the atmosphere.
Combustion of biomass leads to less production of ash than in case of coal. This in turn, helps in cutting the cost which would be required otherwise for ash disposal costs and landfill space requirements, in case of coal combustion. Moreover, the biomass ash serves as a recycled benefit for soil amendment in farm land.
The tons and tons of wastes which are derived from livestock, food processing and household, could be converted into useful energy for production of heat and energy. Plus, this process yields other kinds of advantages. These include reduced odor, curbed risk of water contamination and low risks of exposure to harmful organisms.
In the wild, there is always a risk of breaking out of fire due to small diameter trees that act as a fuel for the flames. Now, getting rid of these trees may incur huge costs. However, if such products are used as biomass, it would not only boost market outlets but also improve the costs of forests thinning activities.
Another important benefit of biomass energy is the usage of wastes from livestock, food processing and city sanitation services thus, contributing to better water quality.
Biomass energy also contribute to social and economical upliftment of societies and the entire nation as a whole. When biomass power systems are established, for each MW of installed capacity, there emerges 6 full-time jobs (estimated figure). So, depending upon the capacity of the power system, there can be about 15-20 or more personnel at the power plant. According to surveys conducted on biomass producing industries in the United States, it estimated that more than 66,000 jobs are supported for these systems.
Products such as fast-growing trees, shrubs and grasses are known as energy crops for the production of biomass energy. Production of these crops on a large-scale can provide a great deal of support to farmers in times of fluctuating markets, thereby helping them to stabilizing farm income. Moreover, these energy crops are low on maintenance and cost-effective to grow.
To conclude with one more advantage of using biomass energy is related to the security of national energy. This is because that production of this energy would appreciably reduce relying on foreign sources of energy and also decrease the risk of supply disruptions, which may arise due to price fluctuations, natural disasters, etc.