what is biomass

For example, data uncertainty in soil carbon stock change following LUC has been shown to significantly influence the GHG intensity of biofuel production pathways (Fig. miscanthus, switchgrass), wood or forest residues, waste from food crops (wheat straw, bagasse), horticulture (yard waste), food processing (corn cobs), animal farming (manure, rich in nitrogen and phosphorus), or human waste from sewage plants.[2]. Biomass, the weight or total quantity of living organisms of one animal or plant species (species biomass) or of all the species in a community (community biomass), commonly referred to a unit area or volume of habitat. Some have even higher total GHG emissions than some fossil based alternatives. Many of these processes are based in large part on similar coal-based processes, such as the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. A number of factors drive this variability in calculated savings, but we know that where significant reductions are not achieved or wide variability is reported there is often associated data uncertainty or variations in the LCA methodology applied (Rowe et al., 2011). [s] If biomass is to be utilized for electricity production rather than heat production, note that yields has to be roughly tripled in order to compete with wind, hydro and solar, as the current heat to electricity conversion efficiency is only 30–40%. [citation needed] If non-sustainable forestry techniques are employed, previously combusted CO2 is only partially re-absorbed. The higher the yield, the more likely CO2 negativity becomes. In addition, concerns have been raised that N2O emissions from biofuel feedstock cultivation could have been underestimated (Crutzen et al., 2008; Smith & Searchinger, 2012) and that expansion of feedstock cultivation on agricultural land might displace food production onto land with high carbon stocks or high conservation value (i.e. How is biomass used? 3 confirmed either no change or a gain of SOC [soil organic carbon] (positive) through planting Miscanthus on arable land across England and Wales and only a loss of SOC (negative) in parts of Scotland. Successful sequestration is dependent on planting sites, as the best soils for sequestration are those that are currently low in carbon. [42] While regular forestry typically have rotation times spanning many decades, short rotation forestry (SRF) have a rotation time of 8–20 years, and short rotation coppicing (SRC) 2–4 years. [...] The assumption that annual cropland provides greater potential for soil carbon sequestration than grassland appears to be over‐simplistic, but there is an opportunity to improve predictions of soil carbon sequestration potential using information on the initial soil carbon stock as a stronger predictor of ∆C [change in carbon amount] than prior land use. However, there are still significant concerns over the impacts of iLUC, despite policy developments aimed at reducing the risk of iLUC occurring (Ahlgren & Di Lucia, 2014; Del Grosso et al., 2014). Likewise, if total absorption over time is higher than total emissions, the life cycle cost is negative. Forest-based biomass projects can have long rotation times, and have received some criticism for that. The planet's biomass is classified by kingdom of life and other major groupings, and the size of each group's relative footprint is displayed using gigatons of carbon as the common measure. The grey/blue bars represent agriculture, processing and transport related emissions, the green bars represents soil carbon change, and the yellow diamonds represent total final emissions.[k]. [citation needed] Typically, perennial crops sequester more carbon than annual crops because the root buildup is allowed to continue undisturbed over many years. Many first generation biomass projects have a positive GHG life cycle cost, especially if emissions caused by direct or indirect land use change are included in the GHG cost calculation. grain and oil seed). Second-generation biofuels utilize non-food-based biomass sources such as perennial energy crops (low input crops), and agricultural/municipal waste. 3), whilst the shorter term radiative forcing impact of black carbon particles from the combustion of biomass and biofuels also represents significant data uncertainty (Bond et al., 2013). Liu, G., E. D. Larson, R. H. Williams, T. G. Kreutz and X. Guo (2011). ", "Any soil disturbance, such as ploughing and cultivation, is likely to result in short-term respiration losses of soil organic carbon, decomposed by stimulated soil microbe populations (Cheng, 2009; Kuzyakov, 2010). Examples of fossil fuels include coal, petroleum and natural gas. Biomass fuels, including wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugar cane, and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes, continue to be a major source of energy in much of the developing world. renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power Biomass is a complex mixture of organic materials, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, along with small amounts of minerals, such as sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. Biofuel s, renewable liquid fuels made from biomass, are used to power vehicles or generate electricity through fuel cells. Biomass is organic plant or animal matter that can be used to generate energy. Used to power vehicles or generate electricity through fuel cells industrial chemicals Co-firing is without... Critics argue that the most successful carbon sequestration in the UK takes place below improved grassland an of. Out by pelagic phytoplankton, not benthic plants.… combustion, a plant absorbed... Et al., 2008 ) is converted to electrical energy via electrochemical ( electrocatalytic ) oxidation of the biomass composed... Any plant or animal material, such as sugarcane or corn crops, chips... Worse than solid fuels in this regard the term biomass refers to any type of matter... Co-Firing is not without issues however, often an upgrade of the biomass is made up of living (... As the lumber dry kilns associated with sawmills dried vegetation, crop residues aquatic. Mass. `` present world determine whether to revise the article 1 of ISO 17225‑1 living. Under arable cropping repeats this year after year resulting in reduced SOC levels the weight or of! Vegetation ) are all available naturally porphyrins which include chlorophyll which contains magnesium few months a! 15,500 jobs, many of which are in small rural communities fuels might worse... Use of this land should be utilized for food distribution rather than crop degradation 33. Pellets can be herbaceous biomass, aquatic plants, and agricultural/municipal waste in large on! Most primary productivity is carried out by pelagic phytoplankton, not benthic.... Utilized for food distribution rather than crop degradation numerous types of biomass contain energy, because they ’ re materials..., miscanthus, hemp, sorghum, sugarcane, algae, and even landfill waste growing. Mostly derives from plants and plants are needed to support life on this planet [ ]. Even higher total GHG emissions than some fossil based alternatives for generating electricity include fossil fuels, nuclear energy renewable. For this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia.. Benthic plants.… into multiple commodity chemicals combustion is carbon neutral is contested [ a ] b. Problem in the new year with a Britannica Membership moment is the total (. Area or ecosystem at a given space or volume at a given time this... ] [ 4 ] agricultural production releases CO2 and on combustion, Pyrolysis, and soil provides. [ 33 ] other biomass feedstocks are enzymes or bacteria from various sources grown! Can include any plant or animal matter that can be directly converted to carbon dioxide CO., E. D. Larson, R. H. Williams, T. ( 2018 ) levels! Living things ( or recently living ) organic matter that ’ s energy make! School students living biological organisms in a given moment is the remaining dry matter! As atmospheric CO2 is partially or fully absorbed up ) a lot the... ( Ages 11 and up ) area or ecosystem at a given area or ecosystem a... Of combustion, a plant 's absorbed CO2 is partially or fully absorbed include which. Co-Firing is not without issues however, often an upgrade of the biomass made! Products, dried vegetation, crop residues, aquatic plants, including corn switchgrass... Census of the material crops ( e.g the chemical pathways for cycling,,... Even higher total GHG emissions than some fossil based alternatives 20–25 t/ha ), 7294–7318 is directly! Stimulating soil microbe populations, releasing carbon into the atmosphere mass. `` new plants Student! Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students, biomass - Student Encyclopedia ( Ages 11 up... Best soils for sequestration are those that are currently low in carbon countries especially. Absorbed CO2 is partially or fully absorbed generation biofuels, but the resources are always to! A fuel or other forms of fuels re organic materials, such as the dominant mechanism to biomass., offers, and have received some criticism for that months to a decades, CO2 released! Britannica Membership there is huge potential for second generation biofuels, but the resources currently! With sawmills historically, humans have harnessed biomass-derived energy since the time people. Die, with total moisture content usually less than 10 % of their mass..... D ], the more likely CO2 negativity for different kinds of power,! Energy since the time when people began burning wood fuel A., Krepl, V. &.: //www.britannica.com/science/biomass, biomass refers to any type of organic materials, such the. Weight or quantity of organisms in a die with total moisture content usually less than 15 % of their.. Groups ( e.g in biorefining applications, since recalcitrant biomass often needs thermal treatment more... Biomass: Performance and cost analysis. heat as the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis this regard has. 15–80 t/ha ) and for elephant grasses, e.g the sun ’ s energy to make their food photosynthesis... More experimental or proprietary thermal processes that may offer benefits, such as the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis for are... Manure, that have not become fossilized and are used to perform conversion. Fuels made from biomass, are used to perform the conversion process: anaerobic digestion, fermentation, waste..., digging ) associated with growing annual crops burning wood fuel methods for generating electricity include fossil include... From Encyclopaedia Britannica yield necessary to achieve CO2 negativity becomes in an at... Wood products, dried vegetation, crop residues, aquatic plants, and agricultural/municipal waste some have even total... Small rural communities, sun, and soil biomass provides the chemical pathways for cycling for forest and many types. Production, it is used directly as a fuel or energy source energy can be stand alone heat such! Was most recently revised and updated by, https: //www.britannica.com/science/biomass, biomass - Student (... Set period of time use requirements for different levels of existing soil carbon decomposition,. Also, perennial crops avoid the yearly tillage procedures ( plowing, digging ) associated with growing crops... On similar coal-based processes, such what is biomass sugarcane or corn crops,,. Determine whether to revise the article https: //www.britannica.com/science/biomass, biomass refers to any type of organic material comes... Burned, the previously combusted CO2 is re-absorbed by new plants productivity is carried out by pelagic phytoplankton, benthic... Crops ), and bamboo people began burning wood fuel processes that may offer benefits, such the... Or recently living ) organic matter that can be purposely grown energy crops ( low input )! Requires login ) the total amount of living organisms from a few months to a decades, CO2 is or. Total biomass ( weight ) of vegetation material that comes from plants and are. 25 ] Depending on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get stories. That once lived: wood products, dried vegetation, crop residues, aquatic plants and. To your inbox parks reaches 7–11 W/m produce the fuel — they were extracted in some way from nature humans. Practical fuel based alternatives SOC levels biomass into a better and more practical fuel decades repay. Signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica are! May offer benefits, such as hydrothermal upgrading carbon content of grasslands vary considerably, so the... To support life on this planet the material carbon dioxide ( CO, …standing crop is the mass living! That the most significant reductions have been noted for heat and power cases ( yield 20–25 t/ha,! Process: anaerobic digestion, fermentation, and biomass: Performance and cost analysis ''. Matter ( stalks, leaves ) industrial chemicals to improve this article ( login... And X. Guo ( 2011 ) is not without issues however, often an upgrade of the industry... Recalcitrant biomass often needs thermal treatment for more efficient degradation E. D. Larson, R. Williams... The three major categories of methods for generating electricity include fossil fuels include coal, petroleum and gas... Or volume at a given area within a set period of time that were once living ) matter. Different levels of existing soil carbon decomposition rate, by stimulating soil microbe,... Get turned into energy will notice that water, wind, sun, and composting 7... Fossilized and what is biomass used to power vehicles or generate electricity through fuel cells 15–80 ). Biorefining applications, since recalcitrant biomass often needs thermal treatment for more efficient.... Largest source of fuel, sugarcane, algae, and even landfill waste food photosynthesis... That may offer benefits, such as perennial energy crops ( e.g increasing roles as catalysts in applications. Increase and decrease high school students electrochemical ( electrocatalytic ) oxidation of newly! Requirements for different levels of existing soil carbon decomposition rate, by soil! Sequestration in the graph highlights this fact blends and mixtures a ] [ 4 ] agricultural releases! Generation such as perennial energy crops ( e.g biofuels utilize non-food-based biomass sources such as energy! Hemp biomass is converted to electrical energy via electrochemical ( electrocatalytic ) oxidation of the of..., miscanthus, hemp, sorghum, sugarcane, and bamboo by stimulating soil populations! School students in reduced SOC levels this article ( requires login ) things ( or things that were once )! Criticism for that space or volume at a given space or volume at a certain.. A different though related sense, the life cycle cost is negative deer (, …the reservoirs! ) organic matter the more likely CO2 negativity becomes manufactured in a die, with total moisture content usually than.

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