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Biomass energy has gained massive support in recent years, due to its economic and environmental implications. As a renewable source of energy, biomass energy cannot be easily depleted.
By definition, biomass energy is the utilization of organic matter using appropriate mechanical structures to produce energy. It is doubtless that biomass energy has advantages and disadvantages, which have to be considered when selecting a source of energy. This paper discusses the merits and demerits of biomass energy.
Advantages of Biomass energy
Biomass is widely known as a renewable source of energy, which is utilized in the production of electricity and other types of energy in most parts of the world. Biomass feedstock mainly comprises of organic matter that can be renewed for energy conversion. Commonly used include animal waste, agricultural crops and industrial wood.
In discussing the benefits of biomass energy, it is important to note that it is renewable, i.e. its source cannot get depleted (ACRE 2008). In addition, this form of energy is safe and does not pose severe environmental pollution. This is because of minimal amount of carbon compounds that are emitted when used as compared to fossil fuels.
Additionally, it reduces the concentration of methane in the atmosphere, a compound that is responsible for the greenhouse effect. Importantly, it is cost-effective since the materials used are locally available. This reduces the expenditure of importing oil and petroleum products. Its production and consumption equally provides job opportunities in homes since manpower is needed (ACRE 2008).
Disadvantages of Biomass energy
Despite the fact that biomass energy is safe and renewable, it also has an array of disadvantages. The first disadvantage is the addition of dangerous gases into the air during combustion of matter. Common biomass emissions include carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.
These emissions contribute to global warming. Due to the fact that biomass feedstock comprises of crops and residues, there is demand for land, which can be used to raise these crops (Alternative Energy Geek 2012). This land could be utilized for food crop production to feed families with insufficient food supply. Additionally, the technology employed in biomass production is relatively new and unpopular.
As a result, the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure is a major challenge. Furthermore, the cost of the technology limits its usage among low-class families. Biomass energy has limited potential in terms of its efficiency and capability. For instance, the energy might not be used to run heavy industrial processes, which are effectively supported by other forms of energy.
It is worth noting that efficient production and utilization of biomass energy requires scientific research to ascertain possible hurdles. Although the energy is from a renewable source, most of the crops are seasonal. This may hinder its continuous production (Clean Green Energy 2011).
From this discussion, it is evident that biomass energy has merits and challenges, which have to be weighed before a decision is reached. Most of the issues discussed revolve around the cost-effectiveness if the energy and its impact to environment, which has become a source of concern when using renewable sources of energy.
ACRE; Australian Co-operative Research Center for Renewable Energy 2012. Web.
Clean Green Energy 2011. Web.
Alternative Energy Geek 2012, <http://www.alternative-energy-geek.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-biomass-energy.shtml>.