What do I need to know about biomass?

In today’s drive to create a more sustainable world and to combat climate change, renewable energies are being more widely adopted as a means of limiting polluting fossil fuels. Biomass is one of the fuel types that can be considered a neutral fuel.

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Biomass comprises a variety of organic materials that can be burned to create heat or power for electricity generation. Different fuel types are used and can include materials that would otherwise be sent to waste, such as the offcuts and shavings from the paper and wood processing industries. These are transformed into briquettes that can be burned for heat.

The different sources of biomass

Some biomass comes from sustainable forestry, with trees grown for fuel purposes. Other sources include agricultural crops, including new-generation types that can be grown on land that is not suitable for food production, and manure. There is also research underway into biomass that can be produced from algae, yeasts and other bacterial-driven processes.

Adopting biomass in the home

One of the advantages of biofuel is that it is easy to access and adopt in the home. If you use Defra approved multi fuel wood burning stoves from suppliers such as http://www.stoveworlduk.co.uk/DEFRA-approved-Multi-Fuel-Woodburning-Stove-5kw, you are already using biomass within your home and doing your bit to protect the environment by not using fossil fuel sources of energy.

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Criticisms of biomass

There has been criticism of the fuel, as it is not a truly low-carbon energy. This is because it emits the same amount of carbon dioxide during combustion as the plant source absorbed during its growth; however, it is carbon neutral and the use of organic materials that would otherwise have gone to waste make it an environmentally-friendly choice. Additionally, newer types of biomass focus on the re-use of waste materials and crops that can be grown on land otherwise unsuitable for food production. This removes the fear that farmers will move away from food production and move towards subsidy-attracting biomass crops.

The use of this sustainable energy source is likely to grow, especially as governments increasingly seek to find ways to limit the use of coal and gas. Biomass can also play a valuable role within a broader sustainable energy mix, which includes other technologies such as solar, wind, hydropower and anaerobic digestion.

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