Using biomass for energy has been around since people used fire to cook food and keep warm. The growing demand for energy production creates an opportunity for biomass to become a substantial supplement to current energy production methods. Biomass initiatives have gained popularity in recent years due to the uncertain nature of foreign fuel sources. Abundant resources and waste materials make biomass energy possible because of the variety and quantity of substances that can be burned to create energy.
Understanding Energy Potential
Nearly anything can be used as a fuel source when using biomass for energy; however, remember that biomass fuel sources have varying amounts of energy potential. Energy potential is simply the amount of energy stored in a substance that when combusted or gasified creates energy. If a fuel source has relatively high energy potential, less of that source is needed to achieve energy production. Adversely, if a fuel source has low energy potential, then larger quantities of that source will be needed to achieve the same energy production levels.
What exactly can be used as fuel for the biomass process?
Wood is the most widely used biomass energy resource today, but other sources of biomass can also be used. These include crop waste, grassy and woody plants, residues from agriculture or forestry, oil-rich algae, and the organic component of municipal and industrial wastes. There is also the possibility of capturing and using the methane created from landfills. Some other main contributors to biomass fuel are paper mill residue, lumber mill scrap, and municipal waste. The technology is available to utilize farming residue, such as corn stover (stalks and leaves left over in the farming process) and wheat stalks to use as a fuel source for biomass energy. Long term biomass plans include growing dedicated crops for the biomass process such as fast growing crops, grasses, trees and algae.
Some benefits of using biomass for energy
- Using biomass for energy is actually better for the environment. True, when biomass is consumed it releases about the same amount of carbon dioxide as fossil fuels, however the carbon dioxide that is released is largely balanced by the carbon dioxide captured during its own growth.
- By using biomass for energy, the United States can reduce dependency on foreign sources of fuel.
- Biomass also has positive economic value. The use of biomass energy supports several different critical industries. Agricultural and forestry industries are assisted by the use of biomass as an energy production method. The promotion of these industries creates more jobs from the farmers and forestry workers, to the energy professionals who engineer ways to effectively turn biomass to energy.
Want to know more?
To learn more about how biomass can be turned into usable energy, visit victoryenergy.com. Victory Energy specializes in the engineering and manufacturing of boilers that can be used in the biomass process. Contact Victory Energy today to find out how they can help your operation increase efficiencies and maximize energy output.