Energy from Plants

Biomass --> converting organic matter into energy. The energy source is stored solar energy. Heating via woodburning is an example of using biomass as an energy source

In general, biomass burning is perceived as being a sensible form of energy generation.

A Case Study in BioMass Cogeneartion

Student prepared summary on Biomass

Okay, let's look at this with a critical eye:

Some common forms of biomass from which energy can be extracted:

Most biomass is made of Carbon and Hydrogen (e.g. Methane = CH4)

Half of the World cooks with wood. In developing countries, biomass accounts for about 70% of the energy generated

In the US, there are now wood waste power plants that have a capacity of 80--100 Megawatts --> approximately 10% of the capacity of a coal fired steam plant.

Production Line Strategies for increasing the power yield:

Example Calculation:

Only 5% of a plant's total biomass is suitable for food. There are two alternatives for the remaining 95%:

Conversion of biomass into fuel is somewhat inefficient and costly. At present, its best to just burn the biomass in electrical power plants.

Conversion of corn into fuel:

At the moment the production of ethanol and methanol is subsidized

In other countries, the econmics of biomass conversion are more viable:

Converting biomass to Methane:

But, BE WARNED, current agriculturual processes have a heavy reliance on fossil fuels and this reliance is often hidden

Current Air Pollution from BioMass Burning:

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