Since time immemorial, biomass has been used as an effective source of energy for many civilisations.
Biomass energy also referred to as bioenergy or green energy is a renewable form of energy we derive from organic matter, which essentially means any living or freshly dead plants or waste matter. Bioenergy refers to the calorific energy contained within animals and plants life or other organic matter that includes waste products from these natural sources. Commonly used organic materials from which biomass energy we can source include: branches, dead trees, tree stumps, wood chips, yard clippings, and municipal solid waste.
It comes as no surprise that wood biofuel is the most significant sources of biomass energy.
Here at Woodyfuel we use and are aware of the different biomass conversation process that is used to convert simple organic waste into bioenergy. These methods include combustion, gasification, fermentation, pyrolysis and bio-digestion.
Over the years, researchers have carried out numerous studies to determine the feasibility of biomass energy. Below we shall uncover some of the biomass advantages and disadvantages, some of which are products of various research studies.
Advantages of Bioenergy (Biomass Energy)
- It’s a Renewable Form of Energy – Green energy is regarded as a renewable form of energy because the organic materials from which it is sourced are essentially never-ending. Most of the organic materials such as wood, crop waste, sawdust, sewage sludge, and manure are renewable and ever-present in nature – provided, we responsibly and strategically maintain the environment.
- It’s Carbon Neutral – There has been a lot of focus on climate change recently (e.g. Energy Company Obligation ECO4 Scheme) and with regards to the adverse effects of carbon on the climate. Fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal release a significant amount of carbon among other harmful particles into the environment. Research has shown that the amount of carbon emitted into the environment from biomass energy is the same reabsorbed by plants during their life cycle. In the process of converting used plants into bioenergy, the new ones sprouting up use up the same amount of energy as that being released from biomass making this source of energy carbon neutral and clean for the environment.
- It’s Cheap – Green energy production demands little capital and this in turn transfers to consumers who chip in little to use biomass as you will discover is the case when you shop at Woodyfuel. This feature is also attractive to manufacturers as they garner huge profits from the small expenditure.
- Widely Available – With ethical harvesting and aggressive tree replanting strategies we at Woodyfuel adhere to, there is no shortage of wood materials. Look everywhere, and you will find the wind, sun, water or trees and plants. The supply is bountiful, and the same cannot be said of fossil-based fuels.
- Less Wasteful – The key to reducing carbon emissions is reducing landfills and overall waste. Increasing the use of biomass could result in up to 90% less waste going to landfills. Transporting it all to landfills would also require less CO2.
Disadvantages of Biomass Energy
- Risk of Deforestation – As pointed out earlier, wood biofuel is the biggest sources of bioenergy, but if consumed uncontrollably this leads to deformation. The excessive consumption renders many animals and bird species homeless and can lead to long periods of drought, which affects both flora and fauna. It’s crucial to replant trees to match their cut down. Woodyfuel is a part of BSL and is FSC regulated. The strategy safeguards the annual harvest of only 2% of the regulated woodlands while keeping the other 98% to grow and handle the carbon
- Not as Efficient – often overlooked moisture content of wood chip biomass (most commonly above 30% moisture) can render the fuel not as efficient as fossil-based fuels. So much so that biofuels are often fortified with fossil fuels in order to boost their efficiency. Woodyfuel developed a sophisticated method of force drying the wood chip to achieve 20% (+/- 4%) of moisture content – much cheaper, with higher RHI and much more efficient than any fossil-fuel available on the market.
Biomass and Biofuel Energy (Updated: 2022)
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released an analysis that discussed the root cause of the carbon emission and steps to resolve it by 2050.
This report notes that the changes are rooted in vital sectoral challenges:
- energy supply,
- surface transport,
- buildings, industry,
- fluorinated gases,
- greenhouse gas emissions.
This report emphasized the necessity of adhering to recommendations in the CCC’s 2020 Land Use Report and 2018 Biomass Report on governance, monitoring, and best use:
“We’ll continue to offer an integrated view of the UK’s infrastructure requirements, land use changes, and key questions over the use of biomass and carbon capture and storage. We plan a reboot in our approach to monitoring progress across these areas and we’ll deepen our advice on the specific circumstances in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.”