Biomass energy wood advantages and disadvantages

🥇14 Disadvantages of Biomass Energy You Should Know

Our need for natural resources has greatly increased over time. There is such a high demand for resources such as diesel, gasoline, coal and natural gas — just to name a few. However, all of these resources are non-renewable. In short, we will run out of them eventually. Not only that, these resources also contribute to air pollution as well as water pollution.

We currently live in a world that is experiencing the consequences of our actions, particularly concerning the environment. The continued deterioration of our world has prompted action and this comes in the form of using alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, nuclear and biomass energy.

Biomass can be burned in order to produce energy. A good example of it is wood. Biomass is used to produce electricity and some kinds can even be converted into liquid fuels that can be used to power different kinds of vehicles. While there are certain benefits to using biomass for energy, what are its advantages and disadvantages like?

It is a renewable source of energy.

biomass energy wood advantages and disadvantages

A lot of organic and agricultural wastes are generated each day. Biomass can be produced from these wastes. As such, biomass is a resource that is readily available and virtually inexhaustible. Biomass energy generates power using renewable assets which come from sources such as wood waste, tree buildup, urban waste and handled wood pellets. Its carbon content is part of the source. Burning coal or gas releases carbon into the atmosphere. On the other hand, biomass sources already have carbon present in them.

Plants, for instance, already have energy stored in them. They absorb energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The stored energy is then released as heat when biomass is burned. Carbon dioxide is released when biomass is burned.

Plants, however, also make use of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to grow. The carbon dioxide they take is returned to the air when the plants are burned. It lessens dependence on fossil fuels. Biomass has the capability to replace all other sources of fuel. Since it relies on natural materials to generate power, there will be less reliance on energy created by assets that are non-renewable such as coal and gas.

The use of renewable energy resources is good for the planet as well. It is widely available. The concept behind biomass is turning trash into energy. We produce lots of trash each day and how great would it be if we can harness this to produce something good?

Organic waste is also a source of biomass. Where does waste such as dead trees and mowed grass go? Rather than send them to the landfills, why not harness them for energy?

It lessens the amount of waste we produce. We produce a huge amount of waste each day.

How Biomass works

Some of the waste we produce are biodegradable, recyclable and are also toxic. It leads to deforestation. Wood is a major source for biomass energy.Green Coast is supported by its readers.

We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you i f you buy through a link on this page. Learn more. Since time immemorial, biomass fuels have been used to generate energy. In ancient days, people burned wood to generate heat to cook and serve other heating purposes.

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In the s, Coal-fired systems were introduced in large cities like North America and Europe. The discovery of other significant sources of energy such as coal and petroleum significantly changed the means of energy production.

biomass energy wood advantages and disadvantages

However, since fossil fuels are limited, it made humans revert to ancient methods of energy production such as biomass. Biomass exists inside living organisms such as plants and animals. It can also be in the form of recently living or dead plants, grass, trees, leaves, crops, manure, garbage, and animal wastes. Biomass energy is also known as bioenergy is a form of renewable energy. Our renewable energy community can help you consider a number of different options. Green Coast was created to help everyone understand how different renewable energy technologies work together, so these are a few considerations on how biomass operates.

Biomass can convert into energy that is used to power homesbuildings, hospitals, malls, etc. There are several methods of converting Biomass into energy, and they include:. Biomass energy is energy produced by burning of organic matters such as plants, agricultural and forestry residues as well as the municipal and industrial wastes. It occurs by exposure of the heat to the organic matter with the presence of oxygen in a boiler to produce steam.

The steam produced rotates a turbine that is connected to a shaft that in turn spins a generator that generates electricity. The energy produced can be used for different heating purposes. When burned, the carbon dioxide is released back into the environment.

Gasification is the process of organic matter conversion into gas forms including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. Organic materials are reacted using heat with a limited amount of oxygen and without combustion to achieve this. It results in a gas mixture that is called syngas or producer gas which is also another form of fuel. Pyrolysis is a Greek word derived from two words pyro and lysis meaning fire and separating respectively is a process of decomposing organic materials by exposure to high temperatures without oxygen.

Bio digestion also known as anaerobic digestion is a process where bacteria break down organic material in the absence of air to create biogas. Fermentation is yet another method which involves converting sugar from an organic material with the help of yeast into alcohol or ethanol.

The ethanol produced can be used as a form of energy to power automobiles. Biomass energy is a renewable resource because of how it is derived. It is from organic matters such as crop waste, wood and other specific resources that are grown to create energy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Biomass

It is from natural resources and waste products that are never-ending and that we are continually producing. Biomass energy is generally from a sewer, garbage, manure, sludge, and other forms of organic matter. Biomass used today is, and a new crop can be grown after each harvest which means it readily and widely available. There are also organic byproducts as a result of using biomass such as biochar.

Whether biomass is carbon neutral or not has elicited debate and a bone of contention from different sectors. Fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere which is a greenhouse gas.

Another significant advantage of biomass fuel is that it helps with waste management. A majority of wastes produced in homesteads are biodegradable and plant matter. Biomass utilizes this kind of garbage and thus reduces the amounts of organic wastes in landfills and the adverse effects it would make on the environment, habitat and the wildlife ecosystem.Biomass is organic, meaning it is made of material that comes from living organisms, such as plants and animals.

The most common biomass materials used for energy are plants, wood, and waste. Biomass in the form of dead plants, trees, grass, leaves, crops, manure, garbage, animal waste can be a great source of alternative fuels that can be used to replace fossil fuels. Plants make use of a process called photosynthesis that converts energy from the sun into chemical energy.

This energy gets transferred to animals when they eat plants. When plants and animal waste are burned, the carbon dioxide and waste stored inside them are released back into the atmosphere.

This is why biomass energy is said to be renewable.

biomass energy wood advantages and disadvantages

Organic materials used to produce biomass energy include forest residues branches, dead trees, and tree stampswood chips, yard clippings, and municipal solid waste. This means that wood remains the largest source of biomass energy. Biomass is an abundant resource: organic matter surrounds us, from forests and croplands to waste and landfills. All biomass originally gets its energy from the sun.

Because of photosynthesis, biomass resources regrow in a relatively short time span compared to fossil fuel resources that take hundreds of millions of years to replenish.

Landfills have a number of negative impacts on the environment, including contamination of nearby air, soil and water, and the emission of greenhouse gases. Many products that end up in landfills are hazardous and toxic; depending on how these materials are managed, they can end up contaminating our land, air, and water, which eventually leads to adverse environmental and human health consequences. Additionally, landfills are a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere.

When organic matter in landfills decomposes, it emits methane—one of the most potent greenhouse gases—as well as carbon dioxide and other compounds. Diverting waste to biomass energy plants instead of landfills not only helps reduce the size of landfills and alleviates these risks, but also takes materials that would otherwise sit around and uses them productively. In many instances, biomass energy plants are dispatchable, meaning they can easily be turned on or off.

This allows electricity grid operators to use electricity from these plants during times of peak demand.

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In comparison, while the availability of some biomass resources may be susceptible to seasonality, biomass energy plants can always turn on to provide power, regardless of the weather outside. Outside of the upfront costs to get the plants up and running, there are additional costs associated with extracting, transporting, and storing biomass prior to electricity generation. Costs can vary widely from biomass energy plant to biomass energy plant, and in some cases, bio-energy has the potential to be cost-competitive with solar and wind.

That said, even though biomass is often more expensive than alternative renewable energy options, the most expensive types of bio-energy are still on-par with or cheaper than fossil fuels: bio-energy does not require drilling into the earth, which carries a high capital and environmental cost. Biomass energy plants require quite a bit of space, limiting the areas you can place a plant. Oftentimes, companies also need to place these plants in close proximity to their source of biomass to cut down on transportation and storage costs.

Additional space may also be necessary to grow the organic matter itself; if power companies are growing crops or trees for the sole purpose of bio-energy, rather than using agricultural waste, this contributes to a larger land footprint per unit of electricity production.

Like many other forms of energy, producing electricity from biomass can come with a number of environmental downsides. For one, depending on the type of biomass used to generate electricity, unsustainable bio-energy practices can result in deforestation over time.

Companies that clear-cut forests to provide material for biomass energy plants harm the natural environment and disrupt the habitats of plants and animals in the process. Clearing plants and organic material from the earth can also impact the health of surrounding soil that requires biomass for compost and fertilization. Growing crops for the sole purpose of bio-energy resources also requires a good amount of water: all plants need water to grow, and continuous irrigation of these resources can make an area more vulnerable to drought.

Additionally, while oftentimes viewed as an environmentally-friendly alternative to coal, producing electricity from biomass does release pollutants into the air, such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and more. In some cases, the emissions and pollutants from biomass can be worse than those from fossil fuel resources.

These pollutants have adverse impacts on environmental and human health. The environmental and health consequences of bio-energy can be minimized through a number of efforts, including more sustainable land-use practices, re-planting efforts, and technological innovation.

While biomass is carbon neutral, the use of animal and human waste escalates the amount of methane gases, which are also damaging to the environment. Additionally, the pollution created from burning wood and other natural materials can be considered just as bad as that resulting from burning coal and other types of energy resources.Knowing the disadvantages of biomass is just as important as knowing the advantages of biomass so I'll cover them both here.

As with any heating system, biomass does have its pros and cons. So in this section I'll explain these further although we're a UK based site these pros and cons will apply to you wherever you're living. Before I get to the advantages and disadvantages of biomass it's worth pointing out a few biomass facts and figures.

Just to give you a little background information. At this point it's worth mentioning the main types of biomass and their main differences before we get into the generic advantages and disadvantages. Wood pellets are fast becoming the industry norm as they are easier to store, they burn cleaner and produce less ash. Provided they are stored correctly. As a result the vast majority of modern biomass boilers are set up to burn wood pellets. Chips are still used but hare being overtaken by pellets as the main grants tend to support the use of pellet boilers.

Chips tend to be used where people have easy access to their own supply of wood which they can chip themselves. As with timber chips the use of logs and sticks tends to be used by people with direct access to timber. Provided you research your boiler and your local fuel supply there's no reason why biomass boilers can't work for you. There's actually a very good financial case to be made for them in the UK with the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive RHI for domestic properties.

After doing the sums on the RHI for my own property, I was so impressed by the numbers and the payback period that I've now installed a wood pellet biomass boiler. PLEASE NOTE - everyones properties will be different, my property has solid stone walls and my figures will not be the same as yours, so you need to do your own calculations to check viability. It's true there are disadvantages of biomass boilers and they aren't the right solution for everyone. There is the initial outlay for purchase and installation and the UK couldn't physically produce enough timber to fuel them if we all installed biomass systems.

Thankfully there are green alternatives to biomass boilers in the form of heat pumps. So no matter what your current position there is always alternatives that will suit your current heating needs. Now that you're aware of the advantages and disadvantages of biomass, you'll be in a better position to decide if biomass is the best option for you. Always check before deciding on a biomass boiler that you have room to store your fuel if you're using pellets and that there's a reliable supply of your chosen fuel type as we don't all have access to sustainable woodland next to our house.

Follow the in-text links to get more information from my other articles on biomass before making your final decision. Wood Pellet Boiler Review.Biomass energy comes from organic materials, such as plants, so that is why it receives classification as a renewable source of energy. The sun stores resources into these materials thanks to photosynthesis.

biomass energy wood advantages and disadvantages

When we burn these items, then the chemical energy kept in the biomass releases as heat. It can burn directly or get converted into liquid fuels, biogas, and other products. Several different organic materials are useful for biomass energy today.

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We typically use wood and processing wastes from it to provide warmth to buildings, produce process heat for industrial purposes, or generate electricity. We also use agricultural crops and their waste items to burn as fuels or to create liquid biofuel. Food, yard, and compost waste are useful commodities, as is animal manure or even human sewage.

We can burn solid biomass to produce heat directly. It can go through a conversion process to create other fuels that we can burn for energy. Ethanol is an example of turning an agricultural commodity into usable fuel. Biomass energy is a renewable resource. We can use any organic material to produce biomass energy. Even though it takes time to renew the foundation of plant materials each year, our daily activities can supplement the materials needed to create the electricity or fuels we require to manage our responsibilities.

Most sources of biomass can regenerate themselves within a few months, and several grass species can do so within a few weeks when the growing conditions are carefully managed. It reduces our dependence on fossil fuel resources. Since we can convert biomass energy into electricity and various fuels, the supplies we generate from this resource help to reduce fossil fuel dependencies.

The finite nature of natural gas, crude oil, coal, and other raw materials make those resources a cause for concern in some circles. Biomass can be a carbon-neutral proposition for energy generation. When we use combustion to generate energy from biomass, then it releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. What makes it a carbon-neutral proposition is the natural way that plants take carbon out of the atmosphere during the photosynthesis process. When we grow materials in a sustainable way, then the new growth will remove what gets released during electricity generation, refinement, or heating needs.

It creates a careful balance where we get to replace everything that gets consumed. It gives us a way to divert waste away from our landfills. Waste accumulation is a matter of significant concern for most countries. The average person in the United States adds five pounds of trash into its landfills every day. That means the total generation of municipal solid waste in was over million short tons that went into American landfills.

Significant levels of trash go through a similar process in every developed country globally. If we can produce this resource sustainably, then we have an effective way to create fuel while promoting a healthier environment. Biomass energy has abundant availability. The amount of potential we have with biomass energy is massive.

We currently use corn and sugarcane to produce ethanol, a fuel that can act as a gasoline substitute. Biodiesel is a more eco-friendly option that the fossil fuel version that gets used each day. Some fields can produce four crops of grass annually that is useful as an energy-producing option. Then we have all of the trash and waste that gets produced by human activities in each country. As consumption levels continue to rise around the world, the growing availability of animal and plant waste allows us to have more access to this energy generation resource.

We can make biofuels with low emissions profiles. Biomass energy allows us to turn organic materials into a variety of different fuels that we can use each day. Some of them are relatively clean, including alcohol, ethanol, and methane.Over the years, biomass has become a popular alternative energy source with much potential to be both a reliable and consistent source of renewable energy to meet our growing needs. That makes it the second largest contributor after wind, with dozens of biomass power plants across the country.

However, just like any energy resource, there are pros and cons about biomass. We take a look at the biomass energy definition, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of biomass energy and expert predictions for the future. The even better thing is, we can turn it into biomass heat.

Biomass renewable energy is the power that comes from methods using biomass matter. The first method is simply to burn the organic matter to create heat to generates steam, which then goes through a turbine system to create electricity.

Special biomass plants take care of the production, storage and distribution of biomass. The second, is to convert biomass into a liquid fuel which can again be burned in order to make energy that can run many forms of transport.

Biofuel and fertiliser can be made from putrefying gasses emitted by rotting foodin specialist containers called anaeorbic digestors. The mere biomass energy definition of turning waste to electricity is an exciting prospect and one that any logic dictates as a good idea to pursue. Biomass is a pretty infinite source of energy as its a by-product of all the processes we already use.

Biomass fuel is carbon neutral. Being more affordable than fossil fuels gives biomass the edge. New technology means production of biomass energy is more efficient and less destructive than fossil fuels. Reducing landfill and overall waste is key to managing carbon levels. That means lower CO2 from transporting it all there too.

Installing a biomass boiler reduces household CO2 contributions by as much as 9. In the UK, installing a biomass boiler qualifies you to take advantage of the Renewable Heat Incentive, which means you receive payments helping you repay your investment. Biomass production plants need a very large area to operate and store, which is limiting for any urban areas. When biomass plants grow their own matter, they require even more space, which means a higher cost for surrounding landscape.

That said, the technologies for creating biomass energy is improving all the time, so the need for such a lot of space could change. It often has to be blended with petrol and diesel to bring its efficiency up to speed.

Methane is around 30 times more potent for global warming than carbon dioxide. Burning natural materials like wood also emit un-environmentally friendly pollutions such as nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.

Despite biomass being carbon neutral, it is still releasing carbon dioxide into the air which puts it behind carbon zero technologies like wind.

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Using wood to create biomass means increased demand, which in turn can lead to deforestation. When biomass production plants grow monoculture crops, which strips nutrients from the soil and removes biodiversity. When algae is used to produce biomass, it relies upon phosphorus fertilisers that damage water supply for the surrounding area.

The harvest, transportation and storage of organic matter can be costly and go beyond what other renewable sources need such as solar power. Regardless, biomass is still less expensive to harvest than it is to mine for fossil fuels. Consideration for the best uses of waste resources and biomass up to would include the use of wood in construction and wider bio-economy, biomass feedstocks, the role of CCS carbon capture and storage and readisness to do so with clear target dates.Biomass energy has gained massive support in recent years, due to its economic and environmental implications.

As a renewable source of energy, biomass energy cannot be easily depleted. By definition, biomass energy is the utilization of organic matter using appropriate mechanical structures to produce energy. It is doubtless that biomass energy has advantages and disadvantages, which have to be considered when selecting a source of energy. This paper discusses the merits and demerits of biomass energy. Biomass is widely known as a renewable source of energy, which is utilized in the production of electricity and other types of energy in most parts of the world.

Biomass feedstock mainly comprises of organic matter that can be renewed for energy conversion. Commonly used include animal waste, agricultural crops and industrial wood. In discussing the benefits of biomass energy, it is important to note that it is renewable, i. In addition, this form of energy is safe and does not pose severe environmental pollution.

This is because of minimal amount of carbon compounds that are emitted when used as compared to fossil fuels. Additionally, it reduces the concentration of methane in the atmosphere, a compound that is responsible for the greenhouse effect. Importantly, it is cost-effective since the materials used are locally available. This reduces the expenditure of importing oil and petroleum products. Its production and consumption equally provides job opportunities in homes since manpower is needed ACRE Despite the fact that biomass energy is safe and renewable, it also has an array of disadvantages.

The first disadvantage is the addition of dangerous gases into the air during combustion of matter. Common biomass emissions include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.

These emissions contribute to global warming. Due to the fact that biomass feedstock comprises of crops and residues, there is demand for land, which can be used to raise these crops Alternative Energy Geek This land could be utilized for food crop production to feed families with insufficient food supply.

Additionally, the technology employed in biomass production is relatively new and unpopular. As a result, the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure is a major challenge. Furthermore, the cost of the technology limits its usage among low-class families.

Biomass energy has limited potential in terms of its efficiency and capability. For instance, the energy might not be used to run heavy industrial processes, which are effectively supported by other forms of energy. It is worth noting that efficient production and utilization of biomass energy requires scientific research to ascertain possible hurdles. Although the energy is from a renewable source, most of the crops are seasonal. This may hinder its continuous production Clean Green Energy From this discussion, it is evident that biomass energy has merits and challenges, which have to be weighed before a decision is reached.

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