Why Biomass?

Biomass is the sequestered energy from the sun, or stored solar energy. When released in a controled way, this energy can be used to heat communities, commercial buildings, and large farming operations. The term biomass refers to structural and non-structural carbohydrates and other compounds produced through photosynthesis consisting of plant materials and agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastes and residues. The components of biomass include cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin, lipids, proteins, simple sugars, starches, water, hydrocarbons, ash and other compounds.

Biomass consists of organic residues from plants and animals, which are obtained primarily from the harvesting and processing of agricultural and forestry crops. The most cost effective heating occurs when biomass wastes and byproducts destined for landfill are redefined and reformatted so that they become fuels for producing energy. Examples of biomass residues that are frequently wasted but could be utilized in as an energy source are forest slash, urban wood waste, lumber waste, as well as straw and other agricultural waste.

Environmental advantages:

Biomass is a renewable low carbon fuel, readily available throughout most areas in North America.

It is a sustainable fuel that can deliver a significant reduction in net carbon emissions when compared with fossil fuels.  Every ton of pellets used instead of oil reduces carbon emissions by 1.5 tons. (Pellet institute)  Fuels are sources from wood including pellets and chips.

Forests represent one of the greatest renewable resources and provide vital ecosystem values, products, sources.

Historical trends show the volume of growing stock of hard wood and softwood tree species in the U.S. forests has increased continually over the past five decades by 49 percent between 1953 and 2006.(SAF)  Trees are growing faster than they are being used.

Local Community:

The actual feed stock (trees and wood waste) to be used for biomass fuel as well as the conversion facilities are located locally.  This means jobs stay local, and more money stays in the region for rural economies ,and local development of conversion facilitiessuch as pellet manufacturing facilities and chip plants creates more jobs.

Estimates of as many as 700,000 jobs are exported to other countries that supply the petroleum for the heating fuel used to heat homes and businesses in the Northern states. (Strauss)

Benefits of biomass: 

  • Fuel costs are lower per BTU

  • It keeps money and jobs local

  • Carbon neutral

  • It is a locally renewable energy source

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