Modern Carbon vs. Fossil Carbon Many people are confused how burning biomass such as wood is better then burning coal. The carbon found in biomass was in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, taken in by the tree, and by burning it we put it back into the atmosphere Burning coal is carbon that has been buried for millions of years and was out of circulation until we began to use it. This results in a rapid increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Biomass (wood, charcoal and manure) Used to heat homes throughout the world. Wood Can be sustainable if we allow time for regrowth Removing timber > Timber replacement growth = net removal Selective logging can be beneficial for forest (opening spaces in canopy can increase biodiversity and photosynthesis). Excessive logging can lead to soil erosion, increased water temps., habitat fragmentation
Biomass (wood, charcoal and manure) Used to heat homes throughout the world. Charcoal Charcoal is made by burning wood to remove moisture. Charcoal is lighter, contains more energy, produces less smoke and does not need constant tending compared to wood. Charcoal is more expensive than wood
Biomass (wood, charcoal and manure) Used to heat homes throughout the world. Manure Used where wood is scarce (parts of Africa and India). Benefits: Removes harmful microorganisms from surroundings Drawbacks: Releases particulate matter and pollutants into the air (especially an issue in poorly ventilated rooms).
Biomass(ethanol and biodiesel) used as substitutes for gasoline and diesel fuel. Ethanol Made by converting starches and sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide Mostly from corn but can be made from sugarcane, woodchips, crop waste or switchgrass. United States is #1 ethanol producer (90% from corn) Brazil is #2 ethanol producer (sugarcane)
Biomass(ethanol and biodiesel) used as substitutes for gasoline and diesel fuel. Gasohol (10% ethanol to 90% gasoline) Flex-fuel cars (run on E-85 or gasoline)
Biomass(ethanol and biodiesel) used as substitutes for gasoline and diesel fuel. Biodiesel Made from extracting oil from algae or plants With a modification diesel cars can run on straight vegetable oil (SVO). The potential of Algae!!