Biomass is a renewable source of energy that refers to biological material deriving from plants and animals. The most popular biomass energy source is wood, while other biomass energy sources also include garbage, waste, landfill gases, and alcohol fuels.
Let us first talk about the advantages of using biomass.
- Biomass is a renewable source of energy (plants can be re-grown time and time again on the same piece of land).
- Biomass can help reduce foreign fuel import and help improve country's energy independence (more biomass used decreases the need for fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas).
- The increased use of biomass from waste can lead to lot less pollution in the world (by converting waste into an useful source of energy and by prolonging the life of landfills).
- Using biomass is environmentally more friendly option when compared with sticking to fossil fuels and can help reduce total level of greenhouse gas emission (if plants are not burned directly).
- Proven renewable energy technology that is able to give instant results.
- Biomass sources can be found in all countries of the world.
- Large number of different technologies can be used to convert biomass into useful form of energy.
- Wood is still the main biomass source in the world and using too much wood as fuel could result in even worse effects for our climate than sticking with fossil fuels (this can be avoided by using only wood waste and by imposing very strict regulation how much wood gets harvested and how are they burned).
- Using more land for biomass could cause result in less land to grow food crops which can lead to more hunger in the world.
- Many technologies used to convert biomass into useful form of energy are still not efficient enough and are connected with significant costs.
- If the plants are burned directly biomass can cause the same level of pollution like fossil fuels do.
- High dependence on wood (In United States for instance 90% of biomass comes from wood).