We Use Biomass Every Day When we eat biomass, we use the energy to move and grow. The energy in everything we eat comes from plants.
We Use Biomass Every Day When we burn biomass, we use the energy to make heat.
We Use Biomass Every Day Biomass can be used to make a gas called methane. Bacteria feed on dead plants and animals. As the plants and animals decay they release methane.
In China, many farmers use all of their garbage, even animal and human waste, to make methane. They put all the waste into a big tank without air. It makes methane as it rots. Farmers use the gas to cook food and light their homes. We Use Biomass Every Day The waste that is left can be used as fertilizer to grow more crops!
Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas, the gas we use in our stoves and furnaces. We Use Biomass Every Day
We can also add yeast to biomass to produce an alcohol called ethanol. Ethanol is a fuel a lot like gasoline.
Biomass Can Make Electricity Many towns burn their garbage in waste-to-energy plants. Instead of putting the garbage in landfills, they burn it to make electricity. This saves landfill space and gives them energy too!
Use of Biomass in the U.S. Until the mid-1800s, wood gave Americans 90% of the energy we used. Today, biomass gives us only about 3% of the energy we use.
Of all the types of biomass, wood and wood waste still make up the largest percentage of biomass use. Use of Biomass in the U.S.
Biomass is renewable because we can always grow more plants! Biomass is Renewable
Biomass and the Environment Biomass can pollute the air when it is burned, though not as much as fossil fuels. Burning biomass does not produce pollutants like sulfur, that can cause acid rain. Growing plants for biomass fuel may reduce greenhouse gases, since plants use carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) as they grow.
Discussion Questions What are some ways that you use biomass in and around your house? What is deforestation? How is this connected to burning biomass for energy?