With new technologies Biomass which is derived from plant or animal-based organic matter, can produce different energy related products such as electrical energy, heat, chemicals, liquid and solid gaseous fuels.
Some sources include municipal wastes, trees, wood waste and residues, animal wastes such as (manure), agricultural feed crops (waste and residues), landfill gases (rotting garbage), aquatic plants, and other organic waste materials. These sources are used to generate electricity and heat, and are also used to produce bio-fuels such as Ethanol, Bio-diesel, and Bio-products.
Being able to be replenished makes it renewable compared to fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, and Biomass is easy to grow, to utilize, and can be quickly replaced without depleting our Natural Resources.
Used directly or indirectly, Bio-energy can produce a variety of renewable energies such as electrical power and fuels. Methane taken from Bio-gas (bacteria broken down organic matter) can be used like Natural Gas to produce electricity or heat.
Ethanol can be used as a substitute in gasoline powered vehicles, and Bio-diesel produced from agricultural or recycled vegetable oils and animal fats can be used as a diesel fuel substitute.
Another form of energy is the burning of waste wood products from agriculture and wood processing plants in conventional boilers, producing steam causing the spinning of turbines, and activating generators to make electricity.
The conversion of Biomass into Bio-fuels from plants or plants-derived materials could reduce gasoline demands, benefit our energy security, our economic growth, and our environment.
Two of the most common types of liquid fuels are Ethanol and Bio-diesel. Ethanol is a high-octane fuel which is blended with gasoline for use in vehicles, while Bio-diesel can also be blended with Petroleum Diesel to make an alternative fuel, it's non-toxic, biodegradable and cost efficient.
Solid Bio-fuels is the processing of raw Biomass such as wood sawdust, grass clippings, domestic refuse, charcoal, agricultural waste, non-food energy crops, and dried manure.
Some solid fuel applications are pellets, cubes or pucks, also firewood that can be burned directly in a stove or a furnace for heat or steam. Another fuel product is Bio-char, made from agricultural waste it can be an alternative to wood charcoal.
Three categories of Bio-products are: Bio-fuels as liquid, solid, and gaseous fuels in the form of ethanol, bio-diesel, pellets, or char, and bio-gas.
Bio-materials: Plastics, foams, and composites.
Bio-Chemicals: Pharmaceuticals, industrial, and cosmetics. These products are made from sources with some components of biological or renewable materials, and they can have economical, environmental, and health benefits.
Products like these can significantly contribute to the bio-economy with the development of new industries and products which will increase economic opportunities, and reduce our dependency on non-renewable fossil fuels.
Bio-products can also benefit the environment by the reduction of green house gas emissions with the manufacturing of some products, compared to the use of petroleum-based ones.
Production of inexpensive drugs and vaccines by genetically modified plants and natural medicinal compound sources, can have great health benefits.
Some issues have been environment, deforestation, soil erosion, impact on water resources, and the cost.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Bio-energy Technologies Office, along with Natural Resources Canada are committed to the development of Bio-energy that do not compromise the quality of the environment, that is cost-effective, that will have minimal impact on soil and water resources, and on our forests.
International Energy Agency (IEA) is an organization that is working to improve the cooperation and the sharing of Information between countries (seventeen of them so far), that have national programs of Bio-energy research development and deployment.
Biomass being an extensive, sustainable energy resource will someday meet most of our energy needs in transportation, agriculture, residential electricity and heat.
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