Biomass & Biogas
Biomass & Biogas
Biomass power is carbon neutral electricity generated from renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left as fodder for forest fires. This organic waste can include scrap lumber, forest debris, agricultural harvest waste, and other industry byproducts that serve no other purpose. Biomass power uses these natural materials to generate clean, renewable electricity while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also offers significant other environmental and consumer benefits, including improving forest health, protecting air quality, and offering the most dependable renewable energy source.
The biomass power industry removes over 68.8 million tons of forest debris annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the risk of forest fires. In addition, the biomass industry diverts millions of tons of waste material from landfills and open burns. Biomass power plants also eliminate the need for frequent open burns of agricultural waste and forest slash, while continuing to offset the use fossil fuels that produce smog and acid rain. In this way, biomass power greatly improves air quality.
Biomass power is an expanding $1 billion industry with 80 facilities in 20 states that supplies over half of America’s renewable electricity. Nationwide, the biomass industry accounts for over 15,500 jobs, many of which are in small rural communities.
To learn more about biomass, please visit the Biomass Power Association’s website.
Biogas systems are a reliable way to turn organic waste renewable energy and valuable soil products, using a natural, biological process. After simple processing, biogas is a renewable substitute for natural gas. The digested solid and liquid material can be turned into a wide variety of useful soil products, similar or identical to peat moss, pellets and finished compost.
Biogas systems can also recover nutrients helping to protect waterways from runoff and preventing over fertilization to increase nitrogen levels in soil.
What counts as organic waste? Manure from dairies, sludge filtered from sewage water, municipal solid waste, food waste, yard clippings, crop residues and more.
Currently, the U.S. has over 2,200 sites producing biogas in all 50 states. But the potential for growth of the U.S. biogas industry is huge. There are more than 13,500 new sites ripe for development today: 8,241 dairy and swine farms and 3,888 water resource recovery facilities, 931 food scrap-only systems and utilizing the gas at 415 landfills who are flaring their gas today. If fully realized, according to an industry assessment conducted with the USDA, EPA and DOE, plus data from the American Biogas Council, these new biogas systems could produce enough energy to power 7.5 million American homes and reduce emissions equivalent to removing up to 15.4 million passenger vehicles from the road. They would also catalyze an estimated $40 billion in new capital deployment for construction activity which would result in approximately 335,000 short-term construction jobs and 23,000 permanent jobs to run the digesters plus many more jobs in organic waste collection and throughout the supply chain.
To learn more about biogas, visit the American Biogas Council’s website.