B I O M A S S
A Natural Solution
Biomass is the burning of natural products to produce energy. It can range from things like burning wood to burning animal fecal matter. While burning anything can lead to greenhouse emissions, the method still has to meet the requirements (in the United States) of the Clean Air Act. Biomass is considered carbon neutral because the matter burned is offset by new growth that's been planted.
Biomass is essentially like a battery, trapping and storing energy from the sun. Scientists are currently researching which methods of biomass have the smallest ecological impact when they are harvested and burned. Biomass is promising because it regenerates quickly, and creates significantly less greenhouse gases when its burned. Until recently, biomass was the leading form of alternative energy. Once research uncovers the most effective way to harness this regenerative power source, it will likely become a major contributor to our sustainable energy future.
This method of energy production is also important in that various types of wastes are eliminated from littering landfills and city streets. Biomass includes waste products like yard debris, shipping crates, food waste, and by-products from paper mills, agriculture, and lumber yards. Biomass technology transforms what was once a problem into a sustainable solution.
Gasification is an even cleaner way to turn biomass into electricity. Biomass is converted into a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The gas is then refined to remove any harmful contaminants, as well as CO2, then it can be burned to create electricity, or further refined to create liquid fuel.