Biomass Energy

Research Project by Carol Whiteside

How is biomass formed and used?

Biomass is organic material that comes from plants and animals. Types of biomass include garbage, crops, alcohol fuels, landfill gas, and wood. Biomass can be burned in waste-to-energy plants which create steam to heat buildings or produce electricity. Plants are a common source of biomass and corn can be processed to make automotive fuel. Wood can be burned for heat. Garbage from homes account for 60% of the biomass.

Biomass is renewable which means it can be replenished.

Advantages

Every American creates about 1,600 pounds of waste each year. We can reduce the amount of trash in landfills by burning trash instead of burying it. In the US, burned garbage creates enough electricity to power about 3 million homes.

Disadvantages

When burned, biomass gives off pollutants, including greenhouse gases.


Cutting down trees destroys the habitats of the animals living in them. Also, with less trees there will be more CO2 in the air since plants create oxygen and absorb greenhouse gases.

Did you know- The methane gas from cow manure can be used to create energy.

Where is it found most abudantly?

Biomass is found most abundantly in areas of dense forests. Forty percent of U.S. corn is used for biofuels. Corn is grown mainly in the Midwest and Great Plains.

Does it harm the Earth to obtain or use biomass?

Biomass can actually help by using trash that would buried in the earth in landfills.


Unfortunately cutting down trees (deforestation) is bad for the animals and humans that live around them.