How does biomass work?
Biomass can be transformed into electrical energy or heat. This process is undertaken both on a small scale, either with boilers in homes and buildings, as well as in industrial plants by means of biological and thermochemical procedures.
In the case of electricity, specialised plants use wood as fuel. Operators heat large containers of water with this material which is used to drive electric generators with the resulting steam. As you can see, this is a process similar to what we find in other types of renewable energies.
The interesting thing about this electricity is that, as biomass is available on a daily basis, there will not be any problem to get a supply of materials for transformation. Biomass is all around us and it is very easy to obtain and use in the process of creating energy.
We can also generate liquid and gaseous fuels from biomass. Hydrogen is obtained by breaking down molecules composed of water and carbon using steam with the help of a catalyst. This enables us to charge batteries for vehicles and by using this gas we reduce the consumption of polluting fuels.
Liquid fuels from biomass can be used as substitutes for traditional fuels, or as additives for fuels. They are obtained from vegetable oils and organic remains. Can you imagine a car smelling of oranges instead of petrol? With fuels like biodiesel, anything is possible.
This is how we obtain products that can have all kinds of uses: from industrial to transport and domestic chores.
Is biomass renewable or non-renewable?
Many of you will ask the question of whether biomass energy is really renewable or not, since you get the feeling that some materials from which energy is obtained do not appear to be so. The answer to this question is yes, biomass energy is renewable, as well as clean. So here we have a very valid form of energy generation and it should be taken into account as an alternative to fossil fuel methods.
But, what is the essential factor for biomass production to be considered a suitable way to obtain energy? Sustainability.
Let's take the example of forests. We use firewood to produce biomass energy that provides us with heat. Not surprisingly, this comes from an environment that needs time to regenerate. If production gets ahead of schedule, there will be a supply problem, the product will become more expensive and pollution will have a direct impact on the environment.