3 Biomass is living, when used, dead, biological material that can be used as fuel or production. Biomass can be plants or animals that are used to create heat, energy, or chemicals. Biomass also includes wastes that can be burnt as fuel. Biomass is not organic materials such as coal or petroleum.Biomass is grown from several plants, but the particular plant used is usually not very important to the end products, but it does affect the processing.Production processes include:Composting, anaerobic digestion (decaying biomass to produce methane gas), fermentation, distillationPyrolysis (heating organic wastes in the absence of air to produce gas. Both are combustable.)Hydrogasification (produces methane)Hydrogenation (converts biomass to oil using carbon monoxide and steam under high pressures and temperatures)Destructive distillation (produces from high cellulose organic wastes).Acid hydrolsis (treatment of wood wastes to produce sugars, which can be distilled)Burning biomass, or the fuel products produced from it, may be used for heat or electricity production.Other uses of biomass, besides fuel and compost include:Building materialsBiodegradable plastics and paper (using cellulose fibres)
4 Initial SetupCostsA plug-flow digester used to harvest animal manure will cost $230,000 to $260,000. Many of the initial costs will be cancelled eventually. Also, farms who use this technology will have lower electric bills.Biomass friendly stoves have a high initial setup cost. These stoves are needed in poorer countries who cannot afford them.Land is needed to grow corn, raise animals, etc. This can become expensive in populated areasIn areas like lumber mills or land fills, the fuel is available and therefore transportation is not a factorGenerally, initial setup costs are relatively high, but prices vary on the kind of biomass being used and its availability. Maintenance costs tend to be lower than natural gas and coal.
5 Long Term Operation Costs The estimated cost of producing Biomass is cents per kilowatt- hour (more than gas)Ethanol production is estimated to be $1.10 per gallon, which is greater than $.90 for gasoline. But, taxes for ethanol are lower than gas so the consumer price is equivalent.Collecting Methane from land fills costs cents per kilowatt-hour (similar to gas)All of these prices are estimated and unfortunately some of them depend on the quality and kind of the biomass materials. So, prices can vary. But, other energy prices, especially gasoline, can vary just as much or by more.The cost of producing electric power from animal manure is cents per kilowatt-hour.The more widely used biomass production becomes, the more technology will be created in order to decrease long term production costs.
6 Total capital cost ($ millions) Capital cost and operating cost for 150 million gallon gasoline-equivalent per year plantsFuelTotal capital cost ($ millions)Capital cost per unit production (pbpd)*Operating cost ($ per gallon)**Grain ethanol11113,0001.22Cellulosic ethanol75676,0001.76Methanol60666,0001.28Hydrogen54359,0001.05
7 Initial and long term costs are high Initial and long term costs are high. But, most investment are repaid in long term benefits such as lower electric bills for farms doing biomass production and biomass profits in general. And although biofuels like ethanol are more expensive to produce than other energies like natural gas, the government taxes natural gases at a higher rate than ethanol in hopes of consumers turning to biofuel.Once Biofuel use becomes more widespread and if the tax ratio remains, an increase demand for biomass will most likely lead to new technology which will reduce short and long term production costs
8 Short TermPollutionBiomass does produce carbon dioxide, which is considered a Greenhouse Gas that does deteriorate the ozone.However, no sulfurs are created in the burning of biomass, whereas in energy sources such as natural gas, the production of sulfur is a major concern.What’s more, the increased growth of plants to use biomass would help to counteract the effects of burning biomass; plants made in order to make biomass consume and remove carbon dioxide from the air, reducing the overall effect of pollution in our atmosphere.
9 Long TermPollutionThe increased use of biomass means that less waste is put into landfills, which helps counteract long term pollution in the form of increased landfill use.Water, in the long run, is also cleaner as the result of the use of biomass because less pesticides are used on energy plants, which reduces the pollution of water.Not only do biomass plants help the environment in general, but baby animals too! These plants are native to the area in which they are planted, increasing the amount of wildlife attracted to the area, improving water life, and refraining from disturbing nesting and breeding times. Awesome!
10 AvailabilityCar engines can be converted to run on recycled vegetable oilYou can usually get this for free: used vegetable oil from restaurantsAvailability of biomass energy largely depends on geographic locationOHIO: 52% of gasoline sold contains up to 10% ethanolthis state considered major purchaser of flexible-fuel vehicles(able to run on E-85, 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline)BRAZIL: Brazillian filling stations offer pure ethanol, “gasohol (E-20),” and evennatural gasUS: All major car manufacturers offer several models of flexible-fuel vehicles at little to no additional costOAHU: Garbage-to-Energy Plant is capable of consuming 2,160 tons of garbage per day and generating 46-MW of powerBiodiesel fuel is becoming increasingly available to consumers as diesel vehicles become more common, accounting for as much as 70% of new car sales in some countries
12 Impacts Social Increased use of ethanol may cause food prices to soar May even cause food shortagesJobs in agriculture will be createdEnvironmentalHelps to reduce air and water pollution through the carbon cycleGrowing some types of biomass plants is good for soilProvides a better wildlife habitat than food cropsControversy with conservationistsEconomicFarmers may make more money in corn salesExpansion of biomass industry:employment in agriculture, forestry, and industries related to producing feedstock will significantly increaseIndustry will widely disperse in rural areassmaller plant locationsmore rural jobsfewer transportation costsDependency on foreign oil would decrease
13 ALTERNATIVES Hydroelectricity Hydrogen Nuclear Power Aquatic Life EmissionsHydrogenElectrolysisNuclear PowerWasteMining
14 ALTERNATIVES Solar Cells Wind Power Cost Globalization Global Demand Nature
15 Other Interesting Facts The largest percentage of biomass used to create energy is wood.The three largest sources of biomass used for fuel are cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin (all found in plants)Currently, production of electricity from biomass constitutes 3.3 percent of the United States’ energy supply.That is a really small percentage!
16 Why Biomass is Better Pros Cons Production of electricity and heat from biomass has the potential for widespread use in the United StatesAlthough Biomass releases CO2 into the atmosphere when combusted, the amount of CO2 released is equal to or less than the amount that the crop absorbs while growing (net emissions of CO2 are zero)Production of biomass feed stocks creates jobs in the domestic agricultural sectorConsPresently, the technology to produce electricity from biomass in large quantities isn’t economically viableEven though net emissions of CO2 are zero, other pollutants such as SOx and NOx are released during combustion