Woody Biomass is a by-product generated from logging operations, landscaping practices, municipal landfills, sawmills, urban development, agriculture processes, construction and demolition. This by-product, when not used for electricity, would otherwise be wasted, left to rot or put into a landfill. One of the most important realities to understand is woody biomass is entirely a by-product. It is economically unfeasible to create biomass with feedstock that is suitable for other uses such as lumber, furniture, veneer, or paper. It is simply a waste product that can be utilized for clean energy.
There are many benefits to using biomass. Here are a few:
1) Biomass used as a fuel reduces the need for fossil fuels for production of heat, steam, and electricity for residential, industrial and agricultural use. Whether the wood is left to rot or utilized for electricity, it can only emit the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere. Why would we not harness this clean energy source?
2) Biomass, like wind and solar, is a renewable resource. An advantage of biomass for electricity is the availability. It can be utilized 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, unlike wind and solar.
3) When biomass is harvested during logging operations, all available wood resources are utilized, the site preparation costs to replant trees are reduced, the risk of forest fires are significantly reduced, additional revenue is gained throughout the entire supply chain, including the landowner, and the end result of the logging job is a neat, more attractive timber stand and landscape. Everyone wins.
4) The use of waste wood from developments and landscaping practices increases landfill space and creates useable energy from wood debris that would otherwise rot.
5) Carbon Dioxide which is released when Biomass fuel is burned, is taken in by plants.
6) Less dependency on foreign oil and non-renewable sources of fuel.
7) Biomass offers other significant environmental and consumer benefits, including improving forest health, protecting air quality, and offering the most dependably renewable energy source.
8) Revenue generated from the production of biomass provides local jobs, tax revenues especially in the form of fuels needed to produce and transport. Money remains in the state and local communities.
9) Ash by product from biomass power plants using wood can be used in some land applied applications with beneficial nutrient value unlike coal and other forms of fuel which must be handle as a hazardous waste.