Biomass is organic matter from animals or plants used for the production of electricity or heat. Examples include food scraps, algae, crops, wood and waste from yards, farms, or forests. Essentially, biomass is an umbrella term for biological raw material used to create energy. A basic explanation of this is wood, which is a fuel for fire.
Biomass is our oldest source of energy that even cavepeople used to keep warm or create light. Flash forward thousands of years, and biomass was still America’s largest source of energy up until the mid-1800s. However, as technological breakthroughs were made, the world began to move towards other forms of fuel like coal.
Today, western governments now view biomass as one of the most viable replacements for fossil fuels.
Why Is Biomass the Next Generation Fuel Source?
Biomass can be used in a variety of ways to literally turn waste into energy. Due to this, western nations have now identified biomass as a fuel source offering multiple pathways to truly decarbonising the energy industry, which some studies show make 86% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Biomass can be burned to create heat, converted into electricity, or processed into biofuel and hydrogen, meaning it can power cars, trucks, aeroplanes, and even whole cities. It has been forecasted that the use of bioenergy will increase from 10.3% in 2020 to 26.4% in 2050. For these reasons, the International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that bioenergy is “the overlooked giant within renewable energy.
Biomass Opportunities in Australia:
- The Australian Commonwealth, along with its western partners, is already establishing regulations to ensure only sustainable harvesting of biowaste contributes to energy production.
- We can easily convert and repurpose existing high-emitting coal facilities to using wood waste as fuel. Studies show the energy provided by biofuel sources will increase from 10.3% to 26.4% by 2050. Meaning biomass can help the coal industry transition to emissions-free fuel.
- This will cost next to nothing to acquire as wood chips and shavings are the by-products of processing timber for commercial use. We can build the foundation for a sustainable biomass industry in Australia using this wood waste.
Benefits of Biomass:
- Currently, the market is valued at US$52.9 billion, which is expected to grow at an average CAGR of 5.9% and reach a valuation of US81.2 billion by 2028.
- A renewable source of energy every country can produce.
- Because it is a natural part of photosynthesis, biomass emits the same amount of carbon as a plant, making it carbon-neutral.
- Reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and is less expensive.
- Creates a revenue stream for manufacturers as it adds value to waste (e.g., food processing residues). Research shows this will also reduce the amount of garbage dumped into landfills by 60 to 90%.