13 Advantages Of Biomass Energy : When, Where, Why,How


What is biomass energy? Is it environmentally friendly? what are the advantages of biomass energy? All these are the basic questions related to biomass energy and they will be answered in this article.

Wide availability

As long as there are plants and vegetation available on this earth,we are never going to face the shortage of biomass and the energy obtained from it. We all know that solar energy and wind energy are never going to end. This is one of the most important advantages of biomass energy.

Likewise the availability of biomass energy is wide as the sources are available in every nook and corner of the world. The sources are leaves,stems,woods and other residues of the plants and bones,corpses of the animals.

 These infinite sources make us able to replace the use of fossil fuels as they are very limited on this earth.

Carbon neutral

We know that the increasing amount of carbon in the environment is a dangerous warning to climate change. So uses of fossil fuels should be immediately stopped as it releases huge amounts of carbon. This is the another most important advantages of biomass energy.

But in case of biomass energy the carbon that is absorbed by the plants gets released. Hence there is no production of carbon. So biomass energy is carbon neutral. Hence it is environment friendly.

Lowering the wide usage of fossil fuels

The use of biomass energy puts an ultimatum to the use of fossil fuels. We all know that fossil fuels produce energy to a huge extent. But they have so many drawbacks. They emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases while producing electricity and other non renewable energies.

Hence they are not environment friendly at all. Another negative side of them is they are non renewable energy resources hence they are very limited. Once they get finished we will not be able to regain them. So from various aspects they are not helpful at all.

Less costly

The energy production from fossil fuels requires loads of money as there is a need of reaching oil wells that are to be drilled,building gas pipelines etc.  Hence electricity or any other energy obtained from fossil fuels are very costly whereas biomass energy production does not need any other set up.

The production of biomass energy from the residues of plants and animals can be done anywhere without oil wells and gas pipelines. So biomass energy is very less costly in nature with respect to the energy obtained from fossil fuels.

Adding a revenue source for manufacturers

Wastes produced in any industry can be used by the owners to generate energy. This biomass energy is helpful in adding extra revenue for the manufacturers. They have to invest nothing except wastes to produce energy.

Lowering the quantity of garbage in the landfills

The quantity of garbage can be lowered by using them to produce energy. Actually this garbage is biodegradable in nature. Hence they can produce biomass energy and in this way these wastes can have the most efficient use of them.

In this way the landfills in which these wastes are present can be cleaned. They are used to contaminate the local habitats and damage the wildlife. Hence making use of them as sources of biomass energy can be helpful for local habitats and wildlife.

To create landfills very less area is needed hence by using these wastes humans can get more area to live. this is why it is one of the most important advantages of biomass energy.

Versatility

Biomass energy has a versatility as it can produce different forms of energy. For example burning wood can produce heat energy whereas steam produced by biomass energy can rotate turbines to generate electricity.

Domestic production

The most advantageous feature of biomass energy is it can be produced at domestic level without investing a lot of money in it. This energy can beat any large power company in the making of electricity as they charge a lot of money for the production.

Highly profitable

As energy production from biomass does not need any extravagant setup, it can be used very easily to produce electricity without investing in it. Hence for the business owners it is very profitable.

Lowering household carbon dioxide contributions

If a biomass boiler is being installed it can lower the household carbon dioxide contributions up to 9.5 ton a year. This will be proved to be very helpful in gaining a healthier environment. Hence it is one of the advantages of biomass energy.

Renewable heat incentive

A renewable heat incentive can be gained by installing a biomass boiler that can help to repay the investment. It is another most important advantages of biomass energy.

A dependable source of electricity generation

It is a dependable source of electricity production as it can be obtained always irrespective of the weather conditions. The sun doesn’t shine always hence the solar energy,the wind energy are not constant always.

We cannot use them constantly for electricity generation. But biomass energy does not depend on weather conditions hence we can produce electricity whenever we need it. One of the advantages of biomass energy is it can be turned on or off very easily.

Reducing greenhouse gas emission

There are so many advantages of biomass energy than fossil fuels as they don’t emit greenhouse gases whereas burning of fossil fuel emits a huge amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases are the reason behind global warming.

The main reason why biomass energy is preferable over fossil fuels is biomass releases a small amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed in it while being burnt whereas the fossil fuels produce a huge amount of carbon dioxide that causes greenhouse effect.

Possibility of usage in various forms

As the biomass is organic in nature they are used to form different products. Methane,biodiesel and other biofuels can be produced from this. Electricity can also be generated through this using steam turbines. So this is one of the crucial advantages of biomass energy.

advantages of biomass energy
Biomass
Image credit: wikipedia

Where biomass energy is used?

When biomass energy is used?

Biomass energy is used in the domestic households at the time of cooking and keeping the household warm at the time of winter. Other than this there are biorefineries,oil refineries and petrochemical plants that use biomass energy to obtain a number of liquid fuels,chemicals,materials and other products.

So biomass energy has a variety of uses in industrial purposes. It is also used as an alternative to fossil fuels to produce electricity in the power plants.

How is biomass energy used?

There are four ways to use biomass energy.

Direct combustion

In the direct combustion method biomass is directly burnt and energy is released in the form of heat,steam etc. this heat energy is used for cooking purposes and keeping warmth in the ambience of domestic households. Other than this this heat is also used in industrial purposes.

The steam is used to turn the turbines which in turn produce electricity.

Direct combustion
Image credit wikipedia

Thermochemical conversion

In this method thermal decomposition takes place at a very high pressure and a very high temperature. On the basis of temperature and amount of oxygen this method can be divided into two processes- Pyrolysis and Gasification.

Thermochemical conversion
Image credit: wikipedia

Pyrolysis

In this process heating is done at 400 to 500 degree Celcius and in this process free oxygen is completely absent. Methane,charcoal and bio-oil can be obtained through this process.

Pyrolysis
Image credit: wikipedia

In this process heating is done at 800 to 900 degree Celcius under controlled amounts of free oxygen.

Gasification
Image credit: wikipedia

Chemical conversion

In the chemical conversion method vegetable oils,animal fats and greases can be turned into fatty acid methyl esters(FAME). They are used in producing biodiesel.

Biological conversion

Fermentation is used to turn biomass into ethanol and anaerobic digestion is used to produce renewable natural gas.

Biomass conversion to energy
Image credit: wikipedia

Why is biomass energy used?

Biomass energy is basically used as a substitute for fossil fuels. Previously we already have discussed what are the advantages of biomass energy for us to increase the use of biomass energy in place of fossil fuels. Basically the first point is biomass energy is renewable and environment friendly in nature whereas fossil fuels are sources of non renewable energy and they are not environment friendly.

In the near future the extensive use of fossil fuels will bring a complete unavailability of them. To meet the demand of electricity and other energies at that time we should start using biomass energy as an alternative. As it is very less costly and limitless, we will not be worried about the shortage of energy in the future.

1.Why sun is the first source of biomass energy?

Biomass energy is a type of renewable energy source as if we grow more plants then the amount of wastes will never go away.There is a cycle from sun to plants for obtaining the biomass energy. At first energy is gained by the plants from the sun through photosynthesis. In this process water and carbon dioxide are converted into glucose. So the first source of biomass energy is the sun.

2.What are the sources of biomass energy?

Heat energy and electrical energy can be obtained directly from burning biomass. Other than this,energies can be obtained from biofuel in an indirect way. Any parts related to plants like woods,crops,dry and wet garbage,manures are sources of biomass energy. At the same time bones of animals are also a source of biomass energy.

3. Biomass can be classified in how many types?

Biomass can be classified into five different types.

Animal residues

Animal manures and wastes found from the poultry are the examples of animal residues. These are used in the agricultural lands as fertilizers. There is a need for the farmers to control environmental pollution in their farming lands.

Hence they try to convert these wastes into biomass energy. This conversion is used to be done by anaerobic digestion in which biogas is produced. This biogas is used for several purposes like cooking,keeping the weather warm inside home,producing electricity etc.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2-5.jpg
Biomass feedstocks
Image credit: wikipedia

Agricultural wastes

There are different kinds of agricultural wastes like rice straws,peels,pulp,stems,leaves,stalks which are used in feeding cattle,burning,decomposing to fertilizers and manures but they can also be used to produce liquid fuels. These liquid fuels can be used in electricity production.

Wastes that are obtained from forests

Wastes are obtained in the forest due to removing plantation,extracting woods for timber etc. they are removed upto 50 percent while harvesting but the residues that are left can be used in biomass energy production.

Solid wastes and sewage

The source of solid wastes is the household wastes. By direct combustion and anaerobic digestion gas is produced from these wastes. This gas includes 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide. After that these gases are used in the power plants.

Industrial wastes

Food industry generates pulps of fruits and vegetables and other residues. There are also starches,sugar,meats etc in them. These wastes are turned into biogas and ethanol through anaerobic digestion.

Summary

So this whole article is based on the tiny facts related to biomass energy. What are the advantages of biomass energy,how can we use this energy in our daily life,how can this be helpful for a healthier environment? All these questions are discussed in it elaborately.

Ankita Biswas

Hi...I am Ankita Biswas. I have done my B.Sc in physics Honours and my M.Sc in Electronics. Currently, I am working as a Physics teacher in a Higher Secondary School. I am very enthusiastic about the high-energy physics field. I love to write complicated physics concepts in understandable and simple words. Let's connect through LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/ankita-biswas-b95785230

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