Since the 1970's the scientific community has been interested in Converting Biomass To Energy. In the beginning, there was not much interest as the world was getting along fine with fossil fuel. Interest lagged for quite some time, even when the government decided to finance research in 2000. In spite of the money, time and interest involved the projects were more or less abandoned.
Everything on earth, mechanical or living requires energy to make it operate smoothly. This inspired scientists throughout the world to go to work on developing biomass to a point where it could produce energy that would fulfill any requirements that required power. A World Treaty Association as well as the United Nations have all addressed this issue. They have even sanctioned some nations to reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions being sent into the atmosphere.
There were many starts and stops along the way in developing the potentials of biomass. It was realized for years that, scientifically, the process of solar energy in plant products was taking place. However, people did not really take the idea of using this energy constructively until studies were advanced regarding fossil fuels.
It was found that fossil fuels were not only becoming more and more scarce but that the demand of industry and consumers was increasing at a rapid rate. In addition, the widespread fear of a 'greenhouse' effect on the earth, by the emissions of these fuels, brought the realization that something had to be done. The people concerned in the study then faced the question of how to do this.
The fact that wood and its by-products produced heat and was used to create some electricity as well as operate machinery was common knowledge. Wood or wood products powered many boilers used in manufacturing. Some companies were using co-firing, combining wood with a fossil product.
Converting biomass to energy is a complicated process. Because of the structure of the organic plants, it requires certain enzymes and other products for this process. It has been found that this is a long and lengthy procedure as well as being very expensive. Breaking down the cellulose and semi-cellulose molecules of wood, for example, into smaller, more workable components has proved difficult. While it can produce energy by burning, it must be broken down if it is to be converted into liquid or fuel. At the present time there has been no way to make the conversion, in large amounts, in an economical manner. Some experimental units have been developed but they have proved quite costly to be practical.
However, it is reported that there has been some progress. At the present time the United States uses biogas for electricity and last year produced several billion kilowatt-hours or about 1.2 percent of the nation's total. Approximately four billion gallons of ethanol was also produced and is used, combined with gasoline, in cars. Many users who are successful in their efforts to produce energy products have digesters on site, which do the conversion. An example of this is in waste disposal plants who are able to produce gas for other uses.
With the many scientists, throughout the world, working on this problem it is hoped that Converting Biomass To Energy on a large scale is not too far in the future. Once a conversion process is developed that is inexpensive it is believed that this will take over all necessary energy needs in the future.