What Is Biomass Energy


by Jawad Ahmad Riaz - Date: 2009-10-23 - Word Count: 495 Share This!

Biomass is anything that is living or has been alive in recent past. They are renewable energy source and all living organisms such as the plants, animals, fungi, algae and bacteria are biomass. Things that were alive not long ago and now converted into either some products or wastes are also included in the category of biomass. These things include the wood, degraded bodies and whole organisms by the microbial flora and some organic fuels. Biomass is regarded to be of two concerns. The more practical and commercial category of biomass is that related to industry where by biomass is the source of energy production. The other, more specific, consideration of biomass is as an ecological term where it is considered as the number of all living organisms or a specific species in a given ecosystem or a place. We shall take the commercial definition of biomass under consideration for it is more general and can be appreciated by a lay man and is also of wide interest to general public, while the other type would call us for scientific expertise for its discourse.

Biomass usually is different from the hydrocarbon energy sources as the later strictly uses the fossil fuels and the geologically transformed hydrocarbons, such as, coal and petroleum oil. Since the environmental change has gained attention of the scientists and the governments the biomass energy sources have started to become favorites of the same against the environmentally hazardous coal and petroleum energy sources. Coal and petroleum come from the hydrocarbon sources and are generally regarded as hazardous and dangerous to the environment because of their release of carbon dioxide as a waste. So the hydrocarbon sources are considered as not-biomass, for they have not been present in the geochemical cycle of the world since such a long time as to make their presence hazardous for the environment now. There is a normal level of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere, that is, 0.038%. Because of the extensive use of the hydrocarbon energy sources since the beginning of the age of industrialization, the concentration of carbon has been greatly disturbed and is thought to be increased by 35%. This happened because the hydrocarbons are not renewable. On the other hand the biomass is a renewable energy source that is burnt and its carbon is again fixed through the carbon cycle, making it a more favorable choice as compared to the coal and petroleum sources.

The most common example of biomass is that of wood. It gets energy from sun and through the process of photosynthesis converts this energy into plant body. When the wood is burnt this very energy is converted into the other forms of energy in various steps. Biomass is of carbon source but also contains some metals in small concentrations. Biomass materials can be converted into fuels capable of just about any energy service, from powering airplanes and cars to making electricity to heating the family living room.
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Related Tags: renewable energy sources, alternative source of energy, biomass energy, how biomas works

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