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The fuel developed from natural and organic materials or wastes, which are a renewable and sustainable source of energy is known as Biomass.

Few types of fuels used to generate biomass are –

a) Scrap Lumber

b) Woody construction and Forest debris (Wood waste, sawmill waste, green waste from landfills and other vegetative)

c) Certain agricultural crops and wastes

d) Manure

e) Animal waste

f) Ethanol waste

g) Municipal solid waste (sewage sludge or other landfill organics)

h) Landfill gas

i) Other industrial waste (i.e. paper sludge from paper recycling processes)

For generating biomass, often the energy sources are thought to be limited to plant wastes but that’s not the case. Even animal-derived materials are used for biomass generation. Biomass is the prime building block of biofuels, highly used for electricity production to produce heat in the context of energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels.

The chemical composition of Biomass – Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen along with nitrogen and alkali atoms, heavy metals and alkaline earth.

Difference between Biomass and Other Fossil Fuels

1) The first, foremost and major difference is the ‘Time Difference’, i.e. the time required for it to be generated.

2) Biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is developing, and returns as it is burned.

3) Biomass can be converted into ethanol by a thermal process and into methanol by fermentation and digestion.

4) Fuels have a high energy density, and burning and utilizing it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Disadvantages of Biomass

If crops are no longer grown then there wouldn’t be any agricultural wastes found. If there’s a demand for biomass then harvesting methods need to be developed. Another major disadvantage is that the land used for growing crops for biomass, is occupied for the long term and which may be used for other purposes like housing, conservation, farming,  resort or agricultural use.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about Biomass.


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