Bioenergy is a diverse resource with many environmental, economic and societal benefits.
What is Biomass?
Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials; a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power. It is a form of bioenergy. Making use of biobased feedstocks can enhance the resilience of rural industries by creating revenue for their waste streams while also benefiting the environment by replacing fossil-based fuels and sequestering carbon.
Some examples of materials used to produce bioenergy are:
Forest and Sawmill Residues
Municipal Solid Waste
Wastewater Treatment Sludge and Residues
What is Biomass Power?
Biomass power is electricity generated from renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left in the woods as fodder for forest fires.
In biomass power plants, wood waste or other waste is burned to produce steam that runs a turbine to make electricity, or that provides heat to industries and homes. Fortunately, new technologies — including pollution controls and combustion engineering — have advanced to the point that any emissions from burning biomass in industrial facilities are less than emissions produced when using fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, oil). ReEnergy’s facilities use this state-of-the- art technology.
Biomass power provides significant environmental and consumer benefits, including improving forest health and forest air quality, and offering baseload, dependable electricity to complement intermittent sources of electricity.
What Do Biobased Materials Create?
Bioplastics & Polymers
What Are The Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Biomass?
Biomass is a renewable source of energy because waste residues will always exist in these sectors. Bioenergy provides greenhouse gas benefits, and these benefits have been cited by many scientists and government officials, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Displace Use of Fossil Fuels
Bioenergy displaces the use of fossil fuels and prevents geologic carbon from being released into the atmosphere. When fossil fuel use is avoided, the geologic storage of carbon is preserved. This prevents the addition of new carbon to the atmosphere.
Sustainable purpose-grown energy crop production is also a sink for carbon. As in forests, a significant portion of the carbon removed by crops from the atmosphere in photosynthesis is added to the soil and permanently removed from the atmosphere. Many energy crops can be grown on marginal or degraded land, bringing new photosynthetic activity – and thus increased uptake of atmospheric carbon – to these areas. Analysis for the federal Renewable Fuel Standard by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified several biofuel pathways that are net carbon sinks – even on a lifecycle basis that includes emissions from energy used in crop production.
Working forests and purpose-grown energy crops remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact, working forests are much more effective at capturing carbon than unmanaged forests, which grow slowly and have a greater risk of massive carbon releases, potentially occurring in wildfires or insect epidemics.
Biobased products store carbon for a very long time, even while new forests and crops are growing. Forest products and other biobased products, such as renewable chemicals, are carbon sinks. And the use of wood for building construction is much more energy efficient than other materials like steel and concrete.
Municipal Solid Waste
Conversion of municipal solid waste to fuel and products also provides major carbon benefits. If sent to landfill, the biomass component of municipal solid waste is typically converted by natural processes to methane – a potent greenhouse gas – and released to the atmosphere. Bioenergy production from MSW avoids this methane release – and the carbon emissions from fossil fuels that would otherwise be burned for energy.
Where Can I Get More Information?
Bioenergy is a diverse resource with many environmental, economic and societal benefits. If you have additional questions about this form of renewable energy or on other related topics, pleases visit these authoritative websites for more information.