How the Use of Biomass Could Affect the US Energy Supply

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With increasing energy prices, the search for renewable energy sources has never been more important. Using biomass instead of fossil fuels shows significant promise in many different areas of energy generation and has the potential to be a significant player in reducing the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

In a recent report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists, it was said that 680 million tons of biomass could be made available for electricity generation and fuel by 2030. Of this, it was estimated that 54 billion gallons of non-food, cellulosic ethanol could be produced for fuel and enough electricity could be produced to power one fifth of the nation’s energy demand.

According to the Department of Energy, 33 percent of the land in America consists of forests, a premier source of non-food stock bio mass. From that land, it is estimated that 367 million dry tons of biomass can be harvested annually. Using biomass from forested areas has multiple advantages over using food stock crops, such as thinning forests to mitigate fire hazard and avoiding creating competition between food and energy sources.

While biomass will never be able to fulfill all of the nation’s energy needs, it can greatly reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

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