energy from biomass


Biomass is the material that comes from plants and animals that were recently living. Biomass can be burned directly, such as setting fire to wood. For as long as humans have had fire, people have used biomass for heating and cooking. People can also process biomass to make fuel, called biofuel. Biofuel can be created from crops, such as corn or Biofuels, such as ethanol, are added to gasoline to cut down the amount of fossil fuels that are used. algae, and processed for use in a car (Figure 1.1). The advantage to biofuels is that they burn more cleanly than fossil fuels. As a result, they create less pollution and less carbon dioxide. Organic material, like almond shells, can be made into electricity. Biomass power is a great use of wastes and is more reliable than other renewable energy sources, but harvesting biomass energy uses energy and biomass plants produce pollutants including greenhouse gases. Cow manure can have a second life as a source of methane gas, which can be converted to electricity. Not only that food scraps can also be converted into green energy. Food that is tossed out produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. But that methane from leftovers can be harnessed and used as fuel. Sounds like a win-win situation.


algae biofuels

Research is being done into alternative crops for biofuels. A very promising alternative is algae. Growing algae requires much less land and energy than crops. Algae can be grown in locations that are not used for other things, like in desert areas where other crops are not often grown. Algae can be fed agricultural and other waste so valuable resources are not used. Much research is being done to bring these alternative fuels to market. Many groups are researching the use of algae for fuel. Many people think that the best source of biomass energy for the future is algae. Compared to corn, algae is not a food crop, it can grow in many places, its much easier to convert to a usable fuel, and its carbon neutral.

consequences of biomass use

In many instances, the amount of energy, fertilizer, and land needed to produce the crops used make biofuels mean that they often produce very little more energy than they consume. The fertilizers and pesticides used to grow the crops run off and become damaging pollutants in nearby water bodies or in the oceans. To generate biomass energy, break down the cell walls of plants to release the sugars and then ferment those sugars to create fuel. Corn is a very inefficient source; scientists are looking for much better sources of biomass energy.

instructional diagrams

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which of the following can be used as biofuel?

a) almond shells.

b) algae

c) corn.

-->  d) all of these.

compared to other forms of renewable energy, biomass energy

a) is less reliable.

b) burns more cleanly, with less greenhouse gas emissions.

-->  c) can be processed into a liquid for use in cars.

d) all of these.

fossil fuels burn cleaner than biofuels.

a) true

-->  b) false

cow manure can be a source of methane gas, which can be converted to electricity.

-->  a) true

b) false

the considerations needed when using biomass for fuel includes

-->  a) many crops need fertilizers to grow, which can become pollutants.

b) some crops emit no greenhouse gases when burned.

c) crops are more efficient than wastes as biofuels.

d) all of these.

to create biomass energy, breakdown of the __ of plants is needed.

a) mitochondria

-->  b) cell walls

c) cytoplasm

d) nucleus

biomass from which sugars are released and fermented create fuel.

-->  a) true

b) false

wood has been one of the oldest fuels used for warmth or to cook food.

-->  a) true

b) false

why is algae considered a better option as source of biofuels than corn?

a) algae is easier to convert to a usable fuel.

b) algae can be grown in locations where crops cant.

c) algae can thrive on waste.

-->  d) all of the above.

diagram questions

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