Meaning of Biomass Energy
Biomass energy is derived from burning organisms either plants or animals which were recently living to generate energy.
Generally we have four types of biomass which includes garbage, wood, crops, landfill gas and alcohol fuels. It is therefore a renewable source of energy as waste residues and forests can always continue to exist.
Biomass energy has been developed as a very promising alternative to fossil fuels since fossil fuels take a very long time to form and due to the great damage they do to our environment.
Advantages of Biomass energy
- Biomass is a renewable source of energy hence ensuring continued energy production.
- Biomass energy is a can be used as fuel hence a great replacement for fossil fuels.
- Expenses incurred by various countries for foreign fuel is reduced.
- The amount of carbon emitted by the biomass fuels is equal to the amount absorbed by plants during their life cycle hence can reduce adverse climate change and global warming.
- This type of energy is always available and in great supplies almost like the sun and wind.
- It can produce a variety of products since there are different organic matter forms.
- It provides a cheaper source of energy in comparison to fossil fuels.
- It can act as a backup to traditional electricity.
- It uses waste materials hence reducing landfill disposal creating more space in the environment.
- The biomass crops grown produce more oxygen and take in carbon dioxide.
- Agricultural wastes produce biomass fuel which can be a secondary product adding value to agricultural crop.
- It ensures less disposal of garbage into rivers, water streams and oceans hence keeping the environment clean.
- Biomass energy indirectly reduces water caused diseases as less garbage is being disposed into the rivers used by people.
- It has contributed to the growth of many societies socially and economically and hence the entire country.
- Fire breakouts in the forests fuelled and spread by small diameter trees is reduced as these trees can be put to better use as biomass and hence spread of fire within forests can be averted.
Disadvantages of biomass energy
- It increases emission of methane gas into the air hence not entirely clean.
- It can lead to deforestation when not properly controlled as forests are sources of biomass energy.
- A great amount of water is required to grow biomass plants.
- It is not as efficient as fossil fuels despite being natural.
- There might be limitation of lands to be used for the energy crops.
- It can be a great source of pollution in certain cases.
- Animal wastes are usually required in biomass production and are usually in small quantities and limited.
- During harvesting extra work is required to be done.
- Where the basic crop is no longer being grown agricultural wastes will not be available.
- It is usually of high cost compared to other alternatives which are not fossil fuels.
- Biomass energy is still under development and hence its potential is not yet reached.
- It can overtime lead to global warming as combustion of wood continues.
- The degradation of biomass when not properly maintained spreads pathogens.
- The large land area used for growing biomass crops could also have been put too much better use through infrastructure development and conservation of forests.
- Some crops such as corn used to produce ethanol are seasonal and hence making it difficult to produce the fuel for the whole year.
We can see that biomass energy has both its advantages and disadvantages but all in all it is one of the best alternatives of fossil fuel and hence cannot be overlooked.
Through finding solutions to the problems of biomass gas such as space and cost we can be able to properly incorporate biomass energy into the society and protect the environment as well.