This is certainly the first question you will find asked anytime someone mentioned the term “biomass.” Out of all of the various alternative energy sources being talked about out there, from solar and wind, to water and nuclear, the one that most people on average know the least about is biomass. So what is biomass? This is question is likely to appear on a million quizzes, tests, and homework assignments in schools throughout the world, so it’s best if there is a website somewhere that can act as a supplementary study material. And viola! Here it is!
Welcome to What is Biomass Dot Net!
Thanks for visiting the website! We are happy to have you and hope to be able to answer this question of “what is biomass?” without much pain and suffering as you’d might find in a school textbook. Let’s get on with it then!
What is Biomass and How is it Renewable?
So let’s answer this question, then. To keep things simple at first, biomass is essentially what is called a renewable energy source, as opposed to a lot of energy sources we use now that are limited by their appearance on the planet. For instance, there is only so much coal or oil on this planet and when it is gone, it is gone. So a renewable energy source like biomass can help save our inevitable future of running out of these other energy sources.
The reason biomass is considered renewable is because it comes from living organisms, or from ones that have just recently died. This means that biomass is biological in nature.
Biological creatures, such as humans, cows, insects, dogs, and more, can reproduce infinitely as long as we have other renewable items such as food. So if biological beings are renewable, then the biomass that comes from them is also renewable!
So What Can We Do With This Renewable Biomass? What is Biomass Dot Net Can Tell You!
The coolest thing about biomass is that we can use it just as it is. This is called direct consumption of biomass and is a very efficient way of using it, but there are also other things we have created that need fuel in a different format. We have some pretty complicated machines! So we have to convert the biomass and use it indirectly, and these energy products of biomass are called biofuel! We can even drive some cars with biofuel at this point. It would be a great goal to get all cars driving on biofuel soon. That would reduce the usage of oil and it would lessen the pollution our cars push out into the air we breathe!
Tell Me More About Biomass Specifically!
Okay, geez! You don’t have to be so pushy! What is biomass more specifically you ask? Biomass is specifically being derived at this point from plant materials. We use it specifically to burn inside of gasifiers and steam generators to make heat. What happens is that this heat creates pressure which can be used to turn a turbine. The biomass combusts, produces heat and pressure, which can turn a turbine which is very much like the propellors on an airplane.
The turbine spins and turns a generator. What happens in the generator is that a magnet is turned within a coil of wires, which generates an electrical current. We can then use this electricity to power all of our awesome stuff like refrigerators, microwaves, computers, televisions, and more. This is far more preferable than the danger of nuclear power or running out of oil.
Where Can We Get Biomass From?
Some of the places we get the biological matter from to use as biomass is from dead trees and bushes in forests. We can extract stumps, pick up branches and sticks that have fallen, and even take full trees that have fallen over naturally. You know how when you do yardwork and your push mower bag fills up? That can be used for biomass. I hate to say it, but even the stuff that goes down the toilet is perfect for biomass and biofuel!
Some companies have even taken to growing plants specifically for the use of making biomass. So when you start seeing biomass popping up and you ask what is biomass, you’ll know that it’s the hemp, willow trees, poplar trees, bamboo stalks, algae, sugarcane, corn, and even eucalyptus being grown to produce it. If you can reel that list off to someone, you know how smart you’ll look? You are ahead of the game just by reading this site!
What Are Some Other Biomass Sources?
If you want to get real down and dirty with the details, because your test coming up in your biology class will probably ask this, then we’ll get down and dirty. Biomass is very simple structurally. It’s mainly made out of carbon, which is what every living thing on this planet is based off of, and then oxygen and hydrogen.
There are five main sources for biomass energy, and they are:
- Garbage (generated by humans)
- Wood (trees and plants)
- Waste (excrement from humans, trash from factories)
- Gases (largely from decomposing trash at landfills)
- Alcohol (liquid sugar used as fuels)
Do you see now why we should really be switching over to biomass? It makes so much sense. It’s cleaner and doesn’t create pollution and is renewable! So if someone asks you “what is biomass?” now you can answer!
What is Biomass Energy Conversion?
So now we know what biomass is and where it comes from, but how do we put it to use besides just burning it and turning a turbine and generator? We have some cool technologies for that. If we want to get biofuel or biogas, then we have to do some things to biomass first.
First, there is thermal conversion, which we’ve already mentioned, which is using heat to burn the biomass and change it into another form, such as biogas. There are more details than this that we won’t get into, but that is the basics of thermal conversion. Another type is chemical conversion, which basically means that you expose your biomass to certain chemicals. This can sythesize other chemicals all together, or create a liquid or gas. The final type to mention is biochemical conversion which means we let nature run its course and let the biomass decompose.
These methods all have a lower environmental impact than other energy sources we currently use like there’s no tomorrow. And if we continue, there may not be a tomorrow!
The Main Benefits of Biomass Are…
The biggest benefit of biomass is that we don’t have to be concerned with a lot of the problems of common power production. Fo rinstance, we can reduce greenhouse gases big time. The emissions are a real problem for our ozone layer, but if we can reduce it, our ozone layer may have a chance to repair ourselves. It protects us from radiation, so we need it! Biomass lets carbon dioxide off instead, which helps our plants produce more oxygen for us. This is how we get back into the cycle of nature. It’s how it’s meant to work.
It also helps us justify some of the forest industries like paper mills. If we can use the trash from those factories as biomass, then at least we are being that less destructive and wasteful. We can’t stop using paper, but we can reduce it’s negative impact by using biomass.
Thanks for Visiting What Is Biomass Dot Net!
Thanks for stopping by. If you want more information, there is plenty in the other pages of the website, which you can find on the menu to the right side. It lists all of the other pages of amazing biomass info for you to read about. You will surely pass your test now! If you want, please contact us at the contact page and we can try to help you further. Have fun reading, and best of luck with everything!