Biomass Energy: a renewable energy source for your plants and building sites

Your company wants to promote sustainable development? Looking for an ecoresponsible renewable energy source? Biomass could be exactly what you need!

Groupe Bellemare specializes in manufacturing biomass from wood residues. Once transformed, this material becomes an excellent fuel to produce green energy. 

This expertise has allowed us to acquire good knowledge about biomass. Today, we are sharing this knowledge to help you understand what biomass is, its benefits and key applications. 

What is Biomass?

Biomass is a renewable organic material of plant or animal origin that can be transformed into energy. The use of biomass energy for transportation and power generation is increasing in many developed countries as a way to avoid carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.

Biomass contains energy from the sun. As a matter of fact, plants produce biomass by photosynthesis. Biomass can be burned directly to produce heat or converted into renewable liquid and gaseous fuels through various processes.

In short, biomass is any raw material that can produce energy.

Sources of biomass production include:

  • Wood and wood processing waste
  • Agricultural crops and food waste
  • Biogenic materials in municipal waste
  • Animal manure and human wastewater

What makes biomass a renewable energy?

Biomass is considered a renewable energy source because its inherent energy comes from the sun and it can regenerate in a relatively short time. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, convert it into biomass and release it back into the atmosphere when they die. Whether trees are burned or decompose naturally, they release the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 

The idea is that if trees harvested as biomass are replanted as fast as the wood is burned, new trees absorb the carbon produced by the burning, so the carbon cycle remains in balance, and no additional carbon is added to the atmosphere. This cycle means that, if used intelligently and responsibly, this energy source is inexhaustible. 

Benefits of Biomass

The use of biomass energy has several benefits that allow its users to reduce their ecological footprint.

Neutral CO2 emissions

Unlike burning fossil fuels, you don’t add new greenhouse gases to the atmosphere when you burn biomass to produce energy. Materials used as fuel only emit the CO2 that these same living materials have already consumed in nature (thus subtracted) and this one will now be consumed by new plants or animals to create a stable cycle. 

In short, all biomass energy produced as a substitute for fossil energy reduces the amount of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

A Kind of Circular Economy

Once biomass has been used as fuel, it offers one more benefit! Indeed, the ashes obtained from the combustion of biomass can be used as a natural fertilizer. 

Economic Development of Rural Areas

The use of biomass helps maintain economy in rural areas. Create agreements with local producers would be beneficial and allow to recover their animal or plant material that can become biomass. 

In these areas, the production, use and transportation of biomass can also create local jobs.

An Efficient Energy Source All Year Round 

When compared to other renewable energies, such as solar or wind, biomass is very independent. Many renewable energies depend on the seasons or weather conditions, but it is not the case for biomass energy. It can be used at full efficiency throughout the year. 

A Versatile Energy Source

The versatility of biomass is one of its greatest qualities since it does not depend on a specific resource. Wood residues, animal matter and plants can all be used as energy sources. 

In a country like Canada, these resources are available in huge quantities. 

Much Less Pronounced Effects on Air Quality

Although biomass is used as a fuel to produce energy, it has a much less negative effect on air quality than fossil fuels.  

Energy that Uses Economical Resources

Whether it is to generate heat for a house or electricity for a plant, the use of biomass is often an economical choice. Indeed, materials used such as wood, manure, plant waste and other raw materials are often much less expensive than fossil fuels. 

In addition, biomass has a much more stable price than fossil fuels, which are subject to international markets fluctuations.

Biomass applications

Energy Source for the Industrial Sector

The combustion of dry biomass produces hot water and steam. In particular, steam can be used to power a turbine or an engine and produce energy. This energy can be used mechanically or to generate electricity. Cogeneration is the simultaneous creation of heat and electricity. 

This source of electricity can be used in plants or on work sites. Accessibility of biomass means that it can be used for work far from cities and large common energy sources. 

Biofuel for Vehicles

Biofuels (such as biodiesel and ethanol) are produced using biomass from agricultural materials. They can be blended with traditional fuel to make it more environmentally friendly, or in some cases, replace it completely. 

Home Heating

It is possible to install a biomass hot water boiler in a house as a central heating system. This method of heating is economical (in the long run, because boiler installation requires a good initial investment), ecological and efficient. Besides, installation of such a heating system is often accompanied by grants and financing. 

Bioproducts

In addition to electricity and fuels, biomass can be converted to make plastics and other products that are typically made from petroleum.

Biomass feedstocks can be used to produce a range of products, such as skin cream, shampoo, mascara, household products, dietary supplements and more.

To sum up

Biomass is an energy source with a lot of potential that deserves to be considered by all entrepreneurs or individuals looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint. 

Are you interested in using biomass energy for your facilities? Contact one of our experts on the matter! We will be happy to answer all your questions, assist you in your project and supply you with quality biomass.

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