Biomass Resources in the United States (2012 UCSUSA.ORG)
…The key to using biomass resources in a beneficial way is to focus on the rightresources, and use them at an appropriate scale. To help identify sustainable sources and scales, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has conducted an assessment of bioenergy production that carefully balances the energy and environmental tradeoffs. For example, we found that…>>
…Energy crops are attractive be-cause they produce energy efficiently, requiring only modest amounts of fertilizer and pesticide, and less fertile soil than is needed for other types of agriculture. Most are perennials, which can be harvested for many years after planting, and expanding the role of perennial crops in agricul-ture can provide important environ-mental benefits compared with the food crops currently used for biofuels (primarily corn and soybeans).Energy crops can be integrated…>>
Agricultural residues left behind after harvest—corn stover (i.e., stalks and leaves) and wheat straw—are a potential source of up to 155 million tons of biomass for bioenergy production. Since these residues are a natural by-product of the primary crop, they can be used to generate energy without reduc-ing the availability of food crops or expanding the footprint of agricul-ture. However, only a…>>
Waste resources are smaller in scale compared with agricultural resides and energy crops, but they may be among the first biomass resources to be used for bioenergy production, as in many cases there is already an ex-isting infrastructure to collect them, and they can be made available at a low cost. Each type of available waste material presents its own opportuni-ties and challenges:…>>
This is one of the largest sources of biomass already in use, as lumber mills and paper plants convert the waste from their operations into heat and power. But because these are ex-isting uses of biomass, they were not included in our assessment of new biomass resources. Unused mill resi-dues are included in our assessment of waste materials described above.
Waste wood in the form of…>>
Bioenergy (Biofuels and Biomass)
Biomass can be used to produce renewable electricity, thermal energy, or transportation fuels (biofuels). Biomass is defined as living or recently dead organisms and any byproducts of those organisms, plant or animal. The term is generally understood to exclude coal, oil, and other fossilized remnants of organisms, as well as soils. In this strict sense, biomass encompasses all living things. In the context of biomass energy, however, the term refers to those crops, residues, and other biological materials that can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels in the production of energy and other products. Living biomass takes in carbon as it grows and releases this carbon when used for energy, resulting in a carbon-neutral cycle that does not increase the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases….>> eesi.org
-Biomass Feedstocks- Some of the most common (and/or most promising) biomass feedstocks are: Grains and starch crops – sugar cane, corn, wheat, sugar beets, industrial sweet potatoes, etc.
-Agricultural residues – Corn stover, wheat straw, rice straw, orchard prunings, etc.
-Food waste – waste produce, food processing waste, etc.
-Forestry materials – Logging residues, forest thinnings, etc.
-Animal byproducts – Tallow, fish oil, manure, etc.
-Energy crops – Switchgrass, miscanthus, hybrid poplar, willow, algae, etc.
-Urban and suburban wastes – municipal solid wastes (MSW), lawn wastes, wastewater treatment sludge, urban wood wastes, disaster debris, trap grease, yellow grease, waste cooking oil, etc.
-Biomass and Land Use