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Biomass Disadvantages – Not Many and Easily Solved

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Biomass Energy is the oldest source of Energy known to mankind and till the 19th century was the primary energy source.Even now Biomass Energy is used of Heating and Cooking by a large percentage of the Human Population.Biomass Energy with improving technology is being now used to construct large biomass power plants.Growing Concerns over Climate Change and soaring Coal Prices are making some Power Plants convert from Coal to Biomass as a Fuel Source.Biomass Energy has many advantages such as being Carbon Neutral,using Animal and Crop Wastes in a useful manner,being poor friendly etc.However Biomass Energy like other Renewable Energy forms of Geothermal Energy faces problems of resources.However Biomass Energy suffers from some unique drawbacks like the problem of regular feedstock which becomes tough to acquire in times of drought etc.Biomass Energy also if not used appropriately can result in terrible air pollution as is the case with a majority of the Biomass Energy being used in the backward areas of the world today.Here is a list of the Cons of Biomass.

Biomass Cons

1) Large Biomass Plants face  NIMBY Concerns– Large Biomass Plants like the one in Scotland have run into massive protests as people think it might lead to air pollution and health hazards if constructed near their homes.These protests by local people and the consequent problems in getting clearance from regulators leads to cost and time overruns.In some cases this has led to the ultimate cancellation of the project itself

2) Black Carbon Phenomenon – If Biomass is not completely combusted it leads to Air Pollution.lack carbon is a form of particulate air pollution, produced from incomplete combustion from biomass burning, cooking with solid fuels, and diesel exhaust.Over the last few years there has been a concerted effort to address the impact of black carbon emissions on global warming. However, the knowledge and understanding about black carbon is incomplete and uncertain.India and China account for 25-35% of global black carbon emissions.

2) Costs Still Quite High – One of the biggest drawbacks of biomass energy is the problem of feedstock.The plants are forced to run at lower utilization leading to higher costs if feedstock is not available due to some reason like a drought.Except in some case where Feedstock is easily and cheaply available,Biomass Energy is quite costly to generate.

3) Good Management Required – The operations of a biomass plant requires very good management otherwise it may run into losses or even in some cases have to shut down.It requires a skill of high order to run the plant optimally and make use of alternative feedstock in case the regular one is not available

4) Limited Potential – Biomass Energy has smaller potential than compared to other forms of energy like solar,hydro etc.Note Biomass Energy has said to have huge potential but the potential to economically generate biomass energy is still not that high.

5) Water Requirement,Harmful Gases,Area Required – Biomass Energy is generated by combustion and that leads to emission of some gases such as CO,NO2 etc.Note while the process of Biomass Energy is Carbon Neutral it still does lead to generation of some GHG emissions.Though supporters would argue that these gases would be released anyway with or without Biomass Energy,critics can say that Solar and Wind Energy don’t produce such gases.Biomass Plants require a larger area to store the feedstock which occupies a large space.Biomass Plants also require large amounts of water


Abhishek Shah

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