How Biomass Energy Works is a complex combination of the solar system, the organic matter system and their cellular composition. Scientific terms are abundant regarding this process but they would be lost on an ordinary person trying to determine the actual process. Briefly, it is solar energy that is retained by biomass components which gives them the power to covert to other products that are beneficial to mankind.
The sun not only provides solar energy to these plants but assists them in growing bigger and becoming an even more valuable source of power. When they are harvested, they are then converted into fuel or other products to be used in everyday life. Wood, for example, can be used without any special process to heat an establishment, run a boiler, and provide other benefits.
Plants, eaten by a cow, are processed after being eaten and wind up as manure. This manure, in turn can be processed into methane gas and used for many purposes. Being second on the biomass pyramid, it does not have as much energy as the original plant but can still be and is being used.
To make use of energy in all of these products, with the exception of wood and wood products, the biomass must be processed using enzymes, yeast and other chemicals to break down the plant's cellulose fibers. Wood can also be processed to make biogas if not used as a raw material.
There are many wood fiber biomass combustion boilers in use in the United States. They are used for various industrial processes including producing electric power. Many pulp mills use chemical recovery boilers. These boilers produce steam as well as electricity for these facilities. Home heating has long used biomass resources with firewood and wood pellets.
Municipal Waste is being recognized as an excellent source of energy. For many years it was simply buried in the ground. More and more communities are recognizing this as an excellent source of energy. Trucked directly to a processing plant, the unprocessed waste is burned and generates electricity or other needed energy.
Using anaerobic digesters as part of a sewer treatment process has become very popular in most cities. These digesters produce gas which is passed on and used as heat, to run boilers or to produce electricity. Animal manure digesters which convert manure into electricity is now in use on some larger agricultural facilities.
Landfill gas is now being used in many locations to produce electric energy. For years municipal waste has been buried in these landfills and as a result gas has formed from the rotting organic materials. Oregon reported two landfills with their gas-to-energy facilities that generated 36.95 trillion Btu of energy in 2004.
The answer to How Biomass Works is simply the use of the sun, the organic materials and the process for converting these materials for human use. It is a fascinating process when one realizes how much nature has to do with the world's daily living and how this can be harnessed to benefit all. Biomass is the key to human race survival.