19 Disadvantages Of Biomass: When, Where, Why, How


Biomass is one of the important organic forms of renewable energy. It is obtained from the components of living organisms. It also generates an important source of energy that can be used to convert into heat and electric forms called biomass energy. But generally, there are some disadvantages of biomass that we will study here.

Several disadvantages of biomass energy are listed below;

  • Biomass as non-renewable energy
  • Gets converted into other forms easily
  • It needs land for development
  • Need for sustainable management of sources of biomass components
  • Economically not so beneficial
  • The construction of biomass plants needs space
  • Less density of energy compared to other forms
  • It is not a clean form of energy resource
  • High expenditure on surrounding plot
  • Less production on a large scale
  • It contains Methane
  • Chances of deforestation
  • Cannot use biomass land to grow other crops
  • Need of storage
  • Inefficient open fires
  • Emission of unclean air
  • The additional workload for people
  • Biomass fuel
  • Release of more smoke

Biomass as non-renewable energy

If the biomass stock is not used properly in time, then they get completely transformed into non-renewable energy. If we consider an example and explain it, then a large forest takes time to build itself but can become fossil fuel, a non-renewable form of energy, in minutes.

Gets converted into other forms easily

The main disadvantage of the biomass components are they can get easily transformed into other forms of energy. It takes time to grow the plants in large plots, but they can easily become fossil fuels if it gets burned.

It needs land for development

The construction of biomass components requires a large plot of land to obtain the energy source. But once the energy is derived, the plot will further become useless for the growth of other crops. It is one among the biggest factors of disadvantages of biomass.

Need for sustainable management of sources of biomass components

The oldest forest areas that contain the old fully grown trees can extract a large amount of carbon compared to the new trees. If forest plantations are not sustainably bisected and given some time to grow, then there will be a problem in the balance of carbon in nature, and the advantage of biomass will not reach a certain extent.

Economically not so beneficial

Fossil fuels are the main outcome of biomass plants. Can obtain efficient fossil fuels from the well-treated plants. So, it requires more funds to build and generate efficient fossil fuels from biomass plants.

The construction of biomass plants needs space

Constructing biomass plants is a huge task. It requires sufficient area for the growth of plants. It isn’t easy to find such a convenient area in the urban region to build and create biomass energy, even though there will be high costs and less productivity.

Less density of energy compared to other forms

The components of biomass include water and plants; since it contains fifty percent of water, there is a loss of energy, and it even loses some amount of energy during its conversion into other forms. It also has less energy density compared to its product, fossil fuels.

It is not a pure form of energy resource

During the conversion process of biomass energy, it releases many vicious gases such as CO2, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and some particle pollutants in the air. If this emission of gases is not properly taken care of, it may lead to smog and even pollution due to fossil fuels.

High expenditure on surrounding plot

To construct a highly developed biomass plant, a larger plot is required to operate, manage and store the biomass production. As the plants grow, it occupies more regions that require care and land. It leads to huge expenditure and higher maintenance. If we cannot see the proper care is not taken, it may convert into non-renewable energy.

Less production on a large scale

Biofuel obtained from biomass is not considered efficient as fossil fuels, and sometimes it requires more energy to burn the biomass components than it produces. It is usually blended with other fuels such as diesel and petrol to increase its efficiency and get it to a larger extent.

It contains Methane

During the conversion process of biomass energy, it releases many vicious gases such as Methane which is the more important element in causing global warming.

It even produces CO2, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and some particle pollutants in the air. If this emission of gases is not properly taken care of, it may lead to smog and even pollution due to fossil fuels.

Chances of deforestation

There has been a high demand for biomass in recent days. Since biomass production requires wood and trees to generate fuel, this purpose may lead to deforestation to meet the requirement of biofuel and fossil fuels. It is the main disadvantage of biomass.

disadvantages of biomass
 
Image Credit: Pixabay free images

Cannot use biomass land to grow other crops

If the land is used earlier to grow biomass plants, it becomes less efficient and not probable to grow other crops. It happens because the algae used to grow biomass produces phosphorous fertilizers that remove the nutrients in the soil and damage the plot’s water supply.

Need of storage

The storage of biomass requires good and high maintenance, or else it will get decayed or converted into other forms of energy. The construction of these warehouses cannot be cheap. The harvest, storage, and export process will be costly since they may require solar power.

Inefficient open fires

To get the fossil and biofuel, the biomass plants have to burn properly in the wide space using open fires and traditional stoves. That may sometimes lead to inefficient open fires that cause damage to the land. It will be the main disadvantage of biomass.

Emission of unclean air

The main disadvantages of biomass production lead to deforestation,  and the burning of organic matter causes the release of pollutants that leads to unclean air. It also causes other major disadvantages such as desertification and land degradation.

The additional workload for people

Collecting suitable biomass resources is a huge task; it becomes a workload for people since they have to spend lots of time searching for suitable firewood. Usually, the firewood they get produces less heat and is of lower grade.

Biomass fuel

The smoke emitted from these biomass fuels and the burning of organic matter causes several problems for the people living near this region. It also causes several health issues for the public.

Release of more smoke

Moist wood used as fuelwood is collected every day and will be used to produce fuels. There will be less time to dry these woods, so will use some heat to remove the moisture that results in more smoke, which is the main disadvantage of biomass.

The above are important disadvantages of biomass that can be observed around us.

What do you mean by biomass energy?

Biomass energy is an important type of energy that is obtained from livestock.

Biomass is one of the important organic forms of renewable energy. It is obtained from the components of living organisms. It also generates an important source of energy that can use to convert into heat and electric forms called biomass energy.

Where biomass energy is not used?

The condition in which biomass energy is not used is when it produces several pollutants.

The major problem faced during the production of biomass energy is the emission of smoke and gases. These gases might lead to several health disorders for the citizens residing in the plant’s area.

When biomass energy is used?

The major consequence is that biomass energy can generate fossil fuels.

As we know, biomass energy is generally extracted from the organic matter generated from the feedstocks. It can also use to produce fuel electricity that is helpful for generators and pieces of machinery.

Why is biomass energy not widely used?

Biomass energy is not widely used due to its expenditure and maintenance.

Constructing biomass plants is a huge task. It requires sufficient area for the growth of plants. It isn’t easy to find such a convenient area in the urban region to build and create biomass energy, even though there will be high costs and less productivity.

Can we use biomass everywhere?

Biomass is not in use in all the regions of the world. It can be seen only in specified parts.

It can be commonly observed in countries like Canada and its neighboring regions, where they use it for heat, cooking, and generating current.

What is the main purpose of producing biomass?

The various purposes of biomass are listed as follows,

  • For thermochemical conversion.
  • Gasification process
  • In the industrial process, it is used to produce current.
  • For heating water.
  • Production of heat energy.

Where can we find biogas usage in India?

In India, we can find biogas production in each household in their daily routine.

People generally use the animal’s excrement to generate a free and sustainable form of energy used to cook food, boil water, etc. These mini biogas plants are very useful for leading their daily chores.

How much is the percent of biomass energy available around the world?

The total percent of biomass energy used in industrial countries is about three percent.

Apart from it, the households use fifty percent of the biomass energy they obtain due to burning firewood, fuel, etc. In developing countries, we can usually find this form of biomass energy.

How can we make use of biomass energy in our daily routine life?

We can make use of biomass energy in various ways; some of them are listed below,

  • In the form of fuel and firewood.
  • Perfumes and some cosmetics contain this energy.
  • In some nutritional supplements and organic food items.
  • It is seen in fuel gas stations.
  • The detergent that is used for cleaning contains this energy.

How is Biomass Converted to Energy?

The steps involved in converting the biomass into any form of energy are given below,

  • In the initial step, energy is conserved by plants and trees, and later, it is transferred to biogas plants through wood, straws, etc.
  • In the second step, it is burnt, leading to heat emission.
  • In the third step, the burnt wood and waste produce steam sent through the pipes and are helpful in the working of turbines.
  • In the last step, the working of turbines produces electricity useful for many purposes.

Summary

Biomass energy is an efficient form of renewable source. It helps produce electricity for several homes and contains major disadvantages in its construction, production, maintenance, cost, natural destruction, etc.

Raghavi Acharya

I am Raghavi Acharya, I have completed my post-graduation in physics with a specialization in the field of condensed matter physics. Having a very good understanding in Latex, gnu-plot and octave. I have always considered Physics to be a captivating area of study and I enjoy exploring the various fields of this subject. In my free time, I engage myself in digital art. My articles are aimed towards delivering the concepts of physics in a very simplified manner to the readers. Let’s connect through - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/raghavi-c-s-260a801b1 EMAIL ID: raghavics6@gmail.com

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