Biomass is plant and organic waste material that is combusted in order to heat water into steam. The steam spins turbines in order to generate electricity. The materials come from wood, agricultural residue, energy crops, food waste as well as industrial waste.
However, the ability to burn waste products from industries in order to generate electricity makes biomass an environmentally friendly resource. This benefit is relatively impossible to obtain from fossil fuels. In the United States, keep in consideration that biomass provides more than 50 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Moreover, it also powers more than 1.5 percent of the total electricity demand.
There is a great need to know that biofuels and biomass are some of the best alternative energy sources to fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, as well as natural gas. However, the plants with the source of biomass for energy purposes capture the same amount of CO2 through photosynthesis.
Deforestation and Farming Practices
There is a great need to know that biomass needs energy crops grown on a large scale. Grasses with some other inedible, high-cellulose crops are the most common because they carry the same environmental impacts as food crops in terms of erosion, pest control, and watering.
In this way, the removal of the forest for the production of energy crops increases greenhouse gases. According to the disadvantages of biomass by studybiofuels, this ratio increases 25 to 30 percent of greenhouse gases each year are a result of deforestation. Along with this, agricultural risks also impact hinges on sustainable harvesting practices and responsible land use.
Like coal or nuclear plants, biomass plants also disrupt local water sources. There is a great need to know that water use at a biomass plant ranges between 20,000 and 50,000 gallons per megawatt-hour. along with this, water is also released back into the source at a higher temperature. It disrupts the local ecosystem that ultimately leads to nutrient runoff from energy crops that harms local water resources as well. growing energy crops with low seasonal rainfall put stress on the local water supply.
Despite being a clean alternative to harmful fossil fuels, biomass generates harmful toxins that are released into the atmosphere. Keep in consideration that the emissions vary depending on the feedstock of the plant. However, pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide are common. Filters are needed to clean the biomass sources. However, it produces more nitrogen oxide than petroleum diesel.