Is using biomass to make energy bad for the environment?
Managing an abundant and renewable resource in a very controlled process is significantly better than using fossil fuels. Only materials that otherwise would have been dumped in a landfill, burned in the field or left in the forests are used in biomass to energy production.
Does growing biomass for energy production divert food away from people who need it?
No. Biomass is typically grown in areas that are difficult to grow food. Growing biomass is generally less expensive due to the need for less water, little to no fertilizers and little maintenance. Farmers growing biomass in addition to their normal crops offers them an economic benefit that otherwise would not have been available.
Are we at risk of cutting down all our forests to make power from biomass?
Biomass is part of an overall energy strategy. This strategy involves using only downed trees or sustainably grown trees for biomass. Cutting down trees for biomass makes no economic sense.
Doesn’t the soil need the carbon in the downed trees or plant material to be returned to the soil?
Yes. Returning plant material to the soil is important to help maintain the health and production in the soil. However, this process can be managed properly and provide for both good soil and power.
Does using biomass for energy or fuel production cause global warming?
No. In fact it reduces global warming by using the carbons slated to be released into the atmosphere anyway instead of carbon that has been trapped in the earth like fossil fuels.
When using municipal solid waste as biomass, how do you keep all the volatile gases from non-organic materials from escaping into the atmosphere?
The process used for converting biomass to energy is very sophisticated. Multiple filters and high heat convert the gases generated into a combustible gas, a few inert gases, and ash. Nothing harmful or toxic is allowed to escape to the atmosphere.
Why do we need biomass for energy?
There are few other solutions to our energy needs that are clean, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral and readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week like biomass. Using biomass to help fuel America and the world is a viable technology that makes sense.
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