.:Benefits and Issues

Converting biomass to energy, fuels and chemicals offers many benefits to mankind and may be the answer to the damage that has been caused to the earth. Energy from biomass sources will ensure that there is a diverse energy supply and that supplies of energy are secure and reliable. These sources of energy are less harmful to our environment, avoid landfill disposal of waste, lessen greenhouse gas emissions, stimulate local economies, create jobs, and help our agricultural industry. With all of these benefits, biomass energy in the form of fuels and chemicals is a pathway towards the energy source of the future, without the damage that comes from use of fossil fuels.

 

Benefits

  • Conversion of biomass to biofuels and biochemicals avoids the need to dispose of them in landfills or by burning saving landfill space and avoiding air pollution.
  • Wider use of biofuels reduce our dependence on foreign oils.  Oil fluctuates in price rapidly, so changing to biofuels will help buffer against the change.
  • Because bioenergy can be produced locally, the cost for these fuels would be lower because there is no need for long distance transportation.  
  • Are considered ‘carbon neutral’. This is because the carbon dioxide they release when burnt is equal to the amount that the plants absorbed out of the atmosphere. Therefore, they don’t contribute to global warming.  Research suggests that they reduce carbon emissions by at least 50-60%.
  • Biofuels emit less particulate pollution than other fuels, especially diesel.
  • Are renewable sources of energy as you can just keep producing more.
  • Ethanol is inexpensive to produce especially if produced from non-food biomass materials.
  • Creates jobs and economic benefits from construction and operation of new facilities.
  • Use of cellulosic waste avoids the concern of using food crops

 

Issues

  • The technologies used to convert cellulosic waste materials to biofuels still needs to be proven
  • Significant investment is required to build large scale production facilities
  • Oil refiners and drivers needs to be willing to use biofuels to stimulate demand
  • If waste is used then no additional land is required to grow the biomass.