When the potential of biomass power first appeared in the 1970's everyone was quite excited about the possibility of a renewable energy source that was easily obtainable. As a result, studies were made and it was agreed that the sun provided energy to plants through photosynthesis and it might be possible to convert this resource into energy. Various areas were explored concerning the possibility of developing a Biomass Power Plant.
Over the years, since the first discovery, many experiments have been conducted as to how to break down the components of organic matter that would result in power that could be utilized in modern industry and civilian use. These components were subjected to many different trials to try to find a method that could be applied in an inexpensive manner.
Unfortunately, it was found that the enzymes and other components needed were very expensive and did not make the operation cost effective if done on a major scale. Despite a large amount of government money and special oversight committees there are still problems in this area. The internal composition of the various organic products require different applications to break them down into a usable form that will inexpensively convert to the end product.
The dream of all involved in this project is to develop a number of power plants across the country that will provide the power necessary for electricity and other energy needs. This would be an ideal situation and relieve the nation, and the worlds, dependence upon fossil fuels. In addition, it would relieve the problem of the current concern regarding the 'green house' effect their emissions are causing in the atmosphere.
For this to become a reality, it will to be necessary to determine an easy and expensive way to break down the organic material's components. Currently there are no full-scale plants operating or under construction in North America. Louisiana has plans in the works to build a plant but it is still on the drawing board.
On the world scene, Canada has two demonstration plants in operation. They are a fermentation plant and a municipal solid waste fermentation/gasification plant. They are using wheat as the main product but have found that that is also expensive. Poland does not have a plant but is using biomass in co-firing operations.
Improvements in the technology of conversion is the only way it will be possible to one day see numerous energy plants located throughout the United States and the world. With top-notch scientists engaged in this research it is felt that it is only a matter of time when this will become a reality.
Those in the know believe that it would not be of any value to build a Biomass Power Plant until such time as the cost of reducing the organic materials to an inexpensive, usable product can be obtained. The United States Department of Energy is doing everything possible to bring this possibility to reality. Numerous universities have programs in place, studying this problem and it is felt that within the next few years the goal of power plants will be realized.