Courtesy: Georgia Forestry Commission
Biomass is the term used to define the energy source made from biological material, including wood and other agricultural materials.
“Cellulosic” biomass consists of tree trimmings, logging slash, crop residues and organic matter that might otherwise go to landfills. It also consists of the wood residue of forest product mills, such as sawdust, bark, and wood chips.
Biomass can be converted to wood-energy pellets, which are used in heaters and furnaces in residential and commercial applications. Utility companies can also use them independently or in combination with coal to produce steam and electricity. Wood energy pellets are easy to handle, have high energy value, and are inexpensive to transport.
Biomass can be converted to ethanol, a “clean, green” gas alternative that can reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil. Cellulosic ethanol is considered superior to corn ethanol because it requires less energy to produce and emits fewer greenhouse gases in the production process.
Energy production from biomass, instead of coal or crude oil, results in net zero emissions of carbon dioxide and very low levels of other harmful emissions. The carbon cycle is basically a closed cycle when using forest biomass to produce bioenergy and the process of burning forest biomass is essentially a carbon neutral process.
Check here for answers to frequently asked biomass questions.