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A Need in the World of Today

Essay by   •  May 13, 2013  •  Essay  •  2,029 Words (9 Pages)  •  995 Views

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Abstract

Biomass is a new innovate discovery been used to generate electricity and biofuels in the place of fossil fuels. The report summarizes some important reasons for what biomass is used and the advantages and disadvantages of biomass. In this report biomass is summarized and discussed so that a basic definition on what biomass actually is can be derived. The report then concentrates on biofuel and tries to explain how trans-esterification works or in other words how biomass is converted into biodiesel. The report goes on to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel.

Contents

Introduction

Biomass turns trash into treasure. Energy is a need in the world of today. Unfortunately the processes that have been used to maximise the energy production are harmful to the environment. The gasses given off by these processes are multiplying daily and the youth of tomorrow will be effected drastically by the effects these gasses have on the precious earth. Global warming is a burden they are trying to get rid of with innovative ideas such as biofuel and bioenergy. These ideas are all fuelled by biomass. Biomass offers an alternative form of energy, a cheaper and cleaner form. The fossil fuels and oils used to create the energy used in the form of electricity are not available in great abundance anymore; in actual fact the fossil fuels being used are becoming more and more scarce causing the price of electricity and fuel to increase drastically. Biofuel, biomass and bioenergy are the answers to the problems faced and are being researched daily.

There are many different kinds of biofuels and different forms of bioenergy but they all derived from biomass. In the future biomass will be the new fossil fuel as the output of biomass is sufficient enough to act as an alternative to fossil fuels. The purpose of this report is to present the idea of biomass, biofuel but more specifically biodiesel. The report will also give the advantages and disadvantages of biodiesel. This report will explain the concepts around biomass and biofuel and try to derive a definition that could help anyone understand the concept of biomass and biofuel. The report will also explain how biomass is converted into biodiesel.

Overview on Biomass

Biomass is the world's new and upcoming raw material used to generate energy. In the energy driven world of today biomass is becoming more important for dual reasons, the raw materials previously used are becoming more and more limited and the need for energy is growing daily. Biomass is a renewable substance due to the fact that trees will continue growing and dying, humanity will continue producing waste and therefore the cycle will continue functioning. Biomass is used to generate bioenergy and therefore bioenergy is a renewable energy source.

Biomass is an environmentally harmless renewable energy resource derived from waste, but waste in many different forms. Practically any source can be used as a raw material for biomass energy production; biomass is often seen as garbage. Biomass uses resources that nobody else wants to use for example waste and animal dung. There are three main sources used as the fuel for biomass energy production; these three sources are wood, waste and alcohol fuels (Sustain S.A alternative energy source, 2012). These three sources are merely the three main sources due to their characteristics, such as been very combustible as well been available in great abundance. There are many different kinds of biofuels made from biomass. These fuels are also renewable and environmentally friendly.

Advantages of biomass

Biomass is a lot cleaner than the raw materials used currently to generate electricity and will therefore help to reduce the gases that are causing global warming. Biomass is environmentally friendly as it absorbs carbon dioxide when it grows and releases the same amount once it is burnt. It uses waste for a positive and constructive reason, which helps get rid of waste. Biofuel made from biomass is more cost effective when compared to fossil fuels or oil. Biomass can be used as an alternative for fossil fuels and therefore it can be used to generate electricity where fossil fuels where previously used.

Disadvantages of biomass

Resources are limited and therefor a shortage of waste could occur. Combusting biomass does release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere but only very little due to the carbon cycle created by the biomass. Certain biomass raw materials are not always available in abundance.

Why is biomass not harmful to our environment?

Fossil fuels are burnt and release carbon dioxide into the environment leaving an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These carbon dioxide gases cannot be absorbed as the plants that absorb the carbon dioxide can only absorb so much and therefore fossil fuels add and increase carbon dioxide content in our atmosphere. Biomass on the other hand absorbs carbon dioxide whilst it grows and then releases it again once it is burnt.

This cycle ensures that biomass never really contributes a large amount of carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere. If this cycle is well maintained it can nearly be said that biomass extracts carbon dioxide from the environment while it releases carbon dioxide into the environment. Therefore, biomass has a balanced cycle whereas fossil fuels cycle is not balanced which is harming our environment. In theory it can be said biomass is part of the carbon cycle.

Overview on biofuel

Biofuel is an environmentally friendlier fuel composed from renewable resources such as vegetable oils, plant biomass and a lot more fatty and oily substances. In the same spirit as biomass biofuel is considered neutral in terms of emissions given off. This is due to the fact that the plants used to produce the biomass raw materials absorb carbon dioxide whilst growing and cancels out the emissions given off when the fuel is burnt.

Biofuel is a lot more cost effective than normal fossil fuels or oil. Biofuel can be used in the same areas as oil, in actual fact biofuels have similar or in most cases the exact same output performance as the petroleum fuels currently

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