BiomassOrganic matter (such as wood, crops, and waste) that is used as a fuel source. (noun)
Additional Information On Biomass
Biomass is not to be confused with Biofuel. Biofuel is a product of the organic material mentioned above in the Biomass definition. Instead, Biomass refers to the organic matter which can be used as a renewable energy source in a number of different ways.
Although Biomass is classed as a renewable energy source, it is by no means good for the environment and the fight against climate change.
In order to produce energy from Biomass, the organic matter must be burnt in some way. This releases carbon dioxide into the air, unlike the use of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.
Although the processing of Biomass emits carbon dioxide, it is classed as a carbon neutral fuel. The reason behind this is due to the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle means that while the crop grows it will absorb carbon dioxide, releasing it back into the atmosphere when burnt.
The main drawback to the use of Biofuel is that it can actually contribute to climate change. Although Biofuel is a carbon neutral fuel, other factors can disturb this aspect.
Biofuel can contribute to global warming as a result of "carbon leakage". Deforestation is a cause of carbon leakage, as we are reducing the worlds carbon absorption capacity, disturbing the natural equilibrium of carbon dioxide between the; atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere.
We must also take into account the energy involved during the planting, maintaining, harvesting, transporting, and manufacturing of the crops. With renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal, the only carbon based energy used will be to manufacture, transport, and construct the system.
Taking the above drawbacks into account, the use of Biofuel is still much cleaner than the use of fossil fuels to provide energy, however, there are better alternatives.
- Written by James Bratley