Biomass and Biofuel Lewis Walsh and Marcia Gonzalez

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Biomass and Biofuel

Biomass and BiofuelLewis Walsh and Marcia GonzalezWhat is biomass/biofuel?Biomass is the term that is used to describe biological material. Biomass is made up of living or recently living organisms such as wood, plants, waste materials, gas, and alcohol fuels. Basically biomass is plant matter that are grown for the use of energy. Biofuel comes off of biomass; biomass is converted into fuel that is then used to power cars and other forms of transportation.Background infoBiofuels are made up of renewable biological material such as ethanol. Ethanol come from a variety of thing including corn kernels and stover, perennial grasses, woody biomass, algae and diesel from soy beans. Biofuels that are currently available are mostly made up of sugar and starch crops, oilseed crops and animal fats. The sugar and starch crops are made into energy by fermenting the crop to convert them into bioalcohols like ethanol, butanol and propanol. Animal fats can also be used as energy; they're processed into biodiesels. The most common bioalcohol fuel used is ethanol. Some cars can only use biofuels that contain only 10% ethanol while flexible cars can use up to 85%. There are two other generations of biofuels, the second generation are known as cellulosic biofuels. Cellulosic biofuels are made up of cellulose that come from non-food products like straw, wood or wood by products. Third generation biofuels use algae to make energy and second and third generation biofuels are not used commercially. Uses There are four different ways in which biomass can be used; burning, fermenting, converting and bacterial decay. In burning biomass is burned to create electricity from waste-to-energy plants. Fermenting adds yeast to the biomass source to produce bioalcohols like ethanol, ethanol can be used as gasoline or a mixture of both known as gasohol. Then in conversion the biomass is converted into gas like methane or into liquid fluids. Last biomass can be used into energy by bacterial decay. In bacterial decay, bacteria feed off of dead organisms which then makes methane.

How it works?Biofuels work by being burned off to create steam which then turn the generator. For example, sugar cane is burned until its converted into alcohol, once its in liquid form its burned. They can also crush the cane until it's a pulp known as bagasse from there they do the same, burn it until steam is made which then powers the generator. Biomass stations work just like fossil fuel stations:

Environmental Hazards Biomass power plants are similar to fossil fuel power plants. Biomass power plants use approximately the same amount of water as fossil fuel do but biomass plants can reuse water if they choose too. After they use water the plants discharge water back into the original water source causing harm to the plants and animals because of the temperature change. Biomass and biofuels also release air emissions but in different amount of levels depending on the source, though they still release nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Biomass energy also affects land use by indirectly or directly decreasing overall carbon stored in plants.

Pros Biomass is used as an alternative to heat households. It can also be burned in a traditional sense to work the same as natural gas, but not leaving as big of an impact as natural gas does.Biofuel is an alternative to gas and is used for transportation. Biofuel is cleaner and leaves less emissions than traditional fuel sources.Cons Large areas of land are needed for biomass to be used efficiently. In developing countries, its difficult to have biomass be a main source of energy because it requires a lot of land and energy to grow the plants to further use them for the biomass.Biofuel has similar disadvantages because it goes through a similar process of growing the plant, providing everything for the plant growth, and then transforming it into a liquid source of energy. So this means that for biofuel and biomass to be an effective and efficient source of energy, it requires large amounts of land, a lot of resources to grow the plants, and the processing of the plants into biofuel and biomass.

Supply and Demand Prevention Other sources that could affect both biofuel and biomass is a bad plant environment, or and a bad crop season for the plants. This could be bad because if there is a bad growth season for plants, the most common plant used is corn, then that means that there won't be as much corn, to use, to turn into biofuel and biomass. Sources that could affect the demand is really its popularity. If biofuel catches on and it start becoming more and more popular, then there will be an increasing demand for it and we will have to produce more biofuel to sustain the demand. This goes for biomass too.Recent Event In countries around the world children and people are starving because their crops are being taken for biofuel. When the crops for biomass and biofuel are used for this energy source, it rises the prices of regular crops in the area because the supply is lower and the demand is the same or greater. When the prices of crops go up and the farming families income does not change, they cant afford to buy food for their family. This leads to starvation around the world. Video Biomass

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