Biomass energy, which is a renewable source of energy, may also be a nonrenewable source of energy. Biomass energy is derived from the energy present in plants. Biomass energy is based on biomass feedstocks, which are plants that are processed and burned to produce power. Crops such as corn and soy, as well as wood, can be used as biomass feedstocks. Biomass energy can be either solid-state (such as charcoal) or liquid (such as alcohol). Alcohol fuel is produced by decomposing biological material into its constituent parts, mainly cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. These parts are then decomposed into their elemental gases (i.e., carbon dioxide and water), which are then expelled from the system. The resulting product is an organic compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. This material can then be reused as compost or converted into new biomass materials.
The global annual production of biomass energy was about 795 million metric tons in 2007. An estimated 30% of this value is lost due to leakage from storage tanks and pipelines.
Solar and wind power are also considered renewable energy sources. Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, while wind power is the conversion of wind movement into electricity. Both solar and wind power are free sources of energy that cannot be depleted. Renewable energy technologies such as these can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Biomass is a renewable energy source since it may be cultivated in a short period of time. Although fossil fuels (petroleum and natural gas) are derived from organic matter, they do not qualify as biomass since they are not renewable. Biomass may be utilized to create a variety of energy sources, including heat, electricity, and biofuels. Biofuels include gasoline, diesel, and heating oil. Biomass can be used as a fuel even after it has been converted into energy products.
Petroleum is the name given to any liquid hydrocarbon. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless fluid that is stored under pressure in tanks or pipes. When needed, it is pumped out of storage containers and sent through processing plants to be turned into fuel pellets or finished products. Petroleum is the main component of gasoline, diesel, and other fuels. It also is used in paints, plastics, varnishes, and ink. It serves as a solvent for cleaning objects such as cars, clothes, windows, etc. And finally, it is essential to many everyday products, such as cosmetics, soaps, and cleaners.
Hydrocarbons are molecules composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms, which are the two most common elements on earth. All petroleum products contain some amount of hydrogen and carbon. The more of these two components there is, the higher the quality of the fuel will be. Natural gas and shale gas are forms of hydrocarbon found in underground reservoirs.
Because its intrinsic energy originates from the sun and it may regenerate in a very short period of time, biomass is considered a renewable energy source. Trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it to biomass. They expel it into the atmosphere as they die. So trees are actually helping to control climate change. As long as we continue to cut down trees, they will keep absorbing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it within themselves until their own death which will lead to new tree growth that will again store carbon.
The amount of biomass that could be used as fuel to generate electricity is huge. The main problem with biomass is that it needs to be processed before it can be used as fuel, which means that more energy is required up front. However, if this processing can be done using methods that reduce environmental impact then this would be good news for climate change mitigation.
Trees provide many other benefits to humans too. They help prevent flooding by removing excess water from the soil and also act as wind barriers. They also provide food and shelter for people and animals. There are many ways in which trees are important for human life and health. Even though they do not always appear to be renewable, they are still useful resources because they provide benefits all around us every day.