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The conversion to biomass energy has played a key role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. But is this renewable energy source really as green as we first thought...
In May 2019 the UK went an entire fortnight without using any coal to generate electricity. The last time this happened, Queen Victoria was on the throne. From having had its first coal-free day in summer 2017 to recording its first coal-free week in May 2019, the UK has done an impressive job of weaning itself off the dirtiest fossil fuel. But as environmentalists cheer the good news and policy-makers give themselves a pat on the back, a terrible truth has come to light: biomass power plants – a key renewable-energy…
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Biomass energy is energy generated or produced by living or once-living organisms. The most common biomass materials used for energy are plants, such as corn and soy, above. The energy from these organisms can be burned to create heat or converted into electricity.
There's a big market sending U.S. wood pellets to Europe to burn as clean energy. But critics say they're not climate-friendly, and their production poses a health hazard for low-income communities.
As the thinking about biomass continues to evolve, state, federal, and international regulations need to clearly distinguish between the types of biomass energy that are beneficial and those that are detrimental. Treating all biomass, regardless of its source, as carbon neutral, could lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions at home and around the world.
The future of biomass could be growing under the sea.
Critics worry about the risks of overcutting and wood smoke. But supporters say the practice will prevent megafires—which release even more carbon dioxide.
WHICH source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? (Europe has three-quarters of the world’s total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic energy.) Or wind? (Germany trebled its wind-power capacity in the past decade.) The answer is neither. By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood.
In reality, burning wood pellets releases more CO2 than burning coal, due to the lower combustion and processing efficiencies of wood. However, the EU Renewable Energy Directive assumes that cleared trees would decompose anyway.
Beyond the quantity of energy they provide, biomass and biofuels always had a major advantage over solar and wind: their reliability. A biomass power plant can generate electricity day or night, wind or no wind. Biofuels can power your car no matter the weather.
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.
A lucrative state incentive to make natural gas from dairy waste is attracting companies from Amazon to Chevron.
Biomass energy is inadvertently making the climate crisis worse.
If a tree falls in a forest—and then it’s driven to a mill, where it’s chopped and chipped and compressed into wood pellets, which are then driven to a port and shipped across the ocean to be burned for electricity in European power plants—does it warm the planet? Most scientists and environmentalists say yes: By definition, clear-cutting trees and combusting their carbon emits greenhouse gases that heat up the earth.
The conversion to biomass energy has played a key role in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. But is this renewable energy source really as green as we first thought?
Biomass & Bioenergy is an international journal publishing original research papers and short communications, review articles and case studies on biological resources, chemical and biological processes, and biomass products for new renewable sources of energy and materials.
Wet waste, solid waste, and gaseous waste streams are potential high-impact resources for the domestic production of biogas, biofuels, bioproduct precursors, heat, and electricity. Wastes represent a significant and underused set of feedstocks for bioenergy production.
Biomass Magazine is a monthly trade publication tailored to serve companies and organizations engaged in producing or utilizing biomass power and heat.
Canadian Biomass magazine covers all aspects of the forest-based bioenergy and bioproducts industry.