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Bioenergy - Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bioenergy

energy biomass organic material

Although the burning or conversion of biomass does not fully relieve pollution of the atmosphere, it does have several major benefits. In many regions, biomass is more reliable than solar or wind energy. This is because the energy in plants is captured and stored, while in solar and wind energy this must be done by manufactured technology. Another advantage of bioenergy is that it can be produced using organic waste material that might otherwise be discarded; this saves the environmental and economic costs of their disposal. Used in mass quantities, bioenergy could boost the economy of any nation that must now import fossil fuels. If crops grown for their biomass increase the biomass of growing plants on the planet, this would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Perhaps the most significant advantage of bioenergy is that it is a potentially renewable natural resource that would help supply energy needs indefinitely.

However, there are some disadvantages to using bioenergy. Biomass has a smaller energy content for its bulk than fossil fuels. Therefore the costs of labor, transportation, and storage are higher. Water and nutrients, which are in short supply in many areas, must be used to grow biomass crops.

Perhaps the major difficulty with bioenergy, however, is the same problem that has arisen with recycling. People will not demand bioenergy until there is a considerable cost saving in doing so, but there will not be much savings until there is a much larger demand for bioenergy, or the non-renewable sources become significantly more expensive.

Resources

Books

Blashfield, Jean F., and Wallace B. Black. Recycling. Saving Planet Earth series. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1991.

Chartier, P. Biomass for Energy and the Environment. Pergamon Press, 1997.

Klass, D.L. Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals. Academic Press, 1998.

Miller, Alan. Growing Power: Bioenergy for Development and Industry. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 1986.

Pack, Janet. Fueling the Future. Saving Planet Earth series. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1992.

Rickard, Graham. Bioenergy. Alternative Energy series. Milwaukee, WI: Gareth Stevens, 1991.


Jean F. Blashfield

KEY TERMS


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Biogas

—Methane derived from the anaerobic digestion of biomass.

Biomass

—Any biological material used to produce energy.

Cogeneration

—The generation of electricity from the heat derived as a "waste" from an industrial process. The electricity generated is used to carry out the industrial processes.

Digester

—A sealed, enclosed volume in which anaerobic digestion of biological material is carried out.

Emission

—Any by-product of combustion, especially from industrial processes and vehicle engines.

Fermentation

—A process by which complex organic molecules are enzymatically broken down to simpler molecules. For example, in alcohol fermentation glucose is reduced to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Gasohol

—A mixture of ethanol or methanol and gasoline, used to increase the octane rating of the gasoline while reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.

Methane

—A biogas resulting from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter by bacteria; CH4.

Methanol

—Methyl alcohol, or CH4O (also written CH3OH).

Municipal solid waste

—The entire waste of a municipality, its homes, and businesses, but not including those of industry or sewage; also called MSW.

Octane

—A number indicating the ability of a petroleum compound to burn smoothly in an engine, rather than with power-losing explosions. The higher the octane number, the smoother the engine burns.

Organic

—Refers to material made of the material of organisms. In pure chemistry, however, organic refers to compounds that include carbon, whether or not they are biological in origin.

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over 1 year ago

This article makes no sense and I was really sad because I like the idea of biofuel

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over 1 year ago

Do you people like chicken

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almost 6 years ago

it is very inertistering

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about 3 years ago

iloveyou rezer!!

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over 5 years ago

its a little confusing, but the content is still good.