Biomass, the energy of the future, is expected to eventually resolve the current problems regarding fossil fuels. With the knowledge that these fuels are not renewable scientists and governments have been dedicated to developing an energy source that will satisfy the demands of the industrial world. It is believed that, with the versatility and many Types Of Biomass this will be possible.
Biomass, the result of solar rays being absorbed by plants and other organic matter, is in abundance and easily cultivated. It is not only available in its original form but also available further up the biomass pyramid. The pyramid identifies each step of the way up the ecosystem chain the original matter travels.
However, it must be realized that as the products pass along the energy pyramid it loses a little bit of energy at each step. The original plant, for example, is loaded with solar energy. A cow eats the plant and at that point, it loses some of its energy, since this must be used to maintain the cow's health. When the cow passes this on as manure it still has some energy and this can be converted into methane gas.
To be classified as biomass the material must be solar energized which means it must be exposed to the sun and its components broken down by photosynthesis. Plant materials and animal waste are the two major types, with each broken down into segments. A variety of wood projects are the most used of the plant materials. It is estimated to be 52% of the energy currently being used. . Other types of this energy containing material can be broken down into agricultural waste products, agriculture crops, municipal waste, manure, and biofuels.
There has been no problem with identifying exactly what can be classified in this category. The product must have solar energy which is provided by the sun. If the product must go through a process such as animal digestion it does reduce its energy, however it is still usable.
The exploration of agricultural products for energy producing projects has advanced by leaps and bounds. Finding that corn is a very viable crop for this purpose has resulted in many agricultural farmers realizing more profit by selling it to co-firing projects that produce electricity than selling it to retail stores. As a result, the repercussions have been widespread.
With the corn in short supply people who are growing beef and other animals have found their feed costs greatly increased. This has resulted in their having to raise their prices, which is reflected in the price the consumer must pay. It is felt that this may go on to other products such as wood pellets, firewood and many consumer products.
Types of Biomass are being researched by professionals in the field as to how to harness more of this energy from the supplies on hand without shorting the consumer. Planting crops such as switchgrass is encouraging. This crop does not take up valuable land nor require special care such as fertilizer or pesticides, yet gives a high-energy yield.