Biomass is biological material from living or dead organisms such as plants or plant generated materials. Biomass can be used directly or indirectly as a renewable energy source either once or transformed into another type of energy material such as biofuels. Woodchips, waste paper products and other wood wastes are the main type of biomass fuel. Other biomass energy sources are tree branches, yard clippings, left-over crops, farm animal wastes, agricultural crop residues and dead trees.
The waste from factories and from farms is carried to a biomass power plant where the biomass is discarded into huge hoppers and then fed into a furnace where it is burned. Thus generated heat is diverted to boil water in the boiler and the energy in the steam is used to rotate turbines and generators.
Generally household waste is normally sent to the dump but the garbage contains some types of biomass that can be reused. Such waste material can be used to produce heat, electricity, manure material or fuels. Manure material is decayed food or plant products mixed together and spread to help plants growth. Recycling biomass for energy cuts down on the need for landfills.
Biomass can also be spotted right at the landfill. When garbage decomposes, it releases methane gas. Pipelines are connected into the landfills to collect methane gas and then used in power plants to make electricity. The manure of animals like cattle, cows and even chickens decomposes; it releases methane gas similar to garbage and this gas can be burned to make biomass energy.
The usage of biomass energy is environmental friendly as the biomass is recycled, reduced and reused.
Benefits on usage of biomass energy
Biomass can be used for power production, fuels and products made from fossil fuels. The use of biomass energy has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a great extent. The best thing is growing biomass previously cleared land, such as under-utilized farm land.
The use of biomass energy can lessen relying on foreign oil because the only renewable liquid transportation fuels available are biofuels.
Biomass energy supports forest and U.S. agricultural product industries. The major biomass feedstocks are lumber mill scrap, paper mill residue and municipal waste. For biomass fuels, the most general feedstocks used are soybeans and corn grain. In future with NREL-developed technology agricultural leftovers such as corn Stover – the leaves, stalks, husks of the plant and wheat straw also be used. Long-term plans comprise using and growing dedicated energy crops such as fast-growing grasses, trees and algae.