There’s a Huge Need for More Clean Energy and Biomass is a Viable Option
At the Paris Climate Summit in November 2015, the U.S. joined 197 other countries in a global commitment to reduce toxic CO2 emissions. The “Paris Climate Accord,” as the agreement is known, seeks to limit increases in the earth’s temperature to less than two degrees Centigrade. It becomes effective (and enforceable) when it is “ratified” (signed) by more than 55 countries who, together, generate more than 55 percent of total global CO2 emissions.
President Obama ratified the Accord in August. Consequently, the country’s energy industries must now work together to achieve the goals of the agreement. In 2015, the U.S. produced four trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and fossil fuels were used to create over 65 percent of that power. The burning of those fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – emitted 17 percent of all global CO2 toxins, which are the byproducts of electricity production. To achieve its commitment to the goals of the Accord and reduce that fossil fuel dependence (and its consequent high CO2 emissions), the U.S. is investing in alternative fuel sources that can replace at least a percentage of fossil fuels while still generating the volume of electricity needed for the country’s homes, industries and businesses.
What Can Biomass Be Used to Produce Energy-wise?
Biomass is a source for plant-based fuels. Trees constitute biomass. Wood, feces, anything that is or was living, and anything derived from that which is or was once living. Why, you and I are biomass.
There’s a way to take that matter, use the carbon from that matter and produce energy from it.
The Envira Companies have developed a proprietary method to convert naturally occurring wood product waste into a substance that mimics coal but does not have the polluting quality of coal.
Their “Enviranized biofuel” (EBF) is a compacted black pellet that can be traded straight across volume-wise for coal. It burns exactly like coal so that existing coal-fueled power plants can use it directly in place of coal. And because biomass waste materials like timber industry slag are the source of EBF, its generation reduces the volume of that waste, as well.
With their patented technology that generates electricity but not pollution, The EnviraCompanies intend for EBF to rise to the top of the alternative energy resource list.
Aside from EBF, The EnviraCompanies are using biomass to produce a plant-based activated carbon that allows for substantial reduction in emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants.
The Familar Family of Clean Energy
There are four other major alternative sources of energy that, with appropriate levels of investment and development, have the capacity to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels: solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectricity.
Together, with biomass, these renewable fuels contributed approximately 13 percent of the gross 2015 power generation. Each of them has drawbacks and benefits.
Their combined capacity, however, offers a tremendous opportunity to reduce or sever American dependence on fossil fuels for power generation:
The abundance of sunlight makes this a promising fuel source. When it hits the face of a photovoltaic cell, chemical reactions in the cell convert that solar energy into electricity. The volume of electricity generated, however, is reduced in cloudy conditions and impossible to achieve at night. Solar produced .65 percent of America’s electricity in 2015.
The wind powers turbines that rotate and generate electricity. You can see “wind farms” dotting the tops of hills in areas that have an abundant wind supply. Power sectors that do not have a high wind climate will not have the capability of benefitting from this alternative fuel source. Wind power accounted for 4.5 percent of the country’s 2015 electricity.
This industry drills wells deep into the ground and captures the heat buried under the earth’s surface. This energy source is limited to those areas in the country where the heat lies close enough to the surface for a well to reach.
Flowing water generates the electricity captured by this alternative fuel resource. Harnessed by dams, America’s rivers provided six percent of the country’s electricity supply in 2015. Hydropower, however, presents several challenges. Droughts caused by climate change lower river water levels, which reduces power generation. Sensitive ecosystems are also negatively impacted. And it is only available where rivers are accessible.