By: C.D. Foster, J. Gan, and C. Mayfield
In the United States, 86 percent of the total energy consumed comes from fossil fuels, 6 percent from renewable energy sources, and 8 percent from nuclear power. Of the renewable energy, 34 percent is comprised of wood produced energy, most of which is used by the forest products industry as process heat.
In recent years, the nation’s consumption of energy has drastically increased. About 100 quadrillion BTUs of energy were used by Americans in 2004 compared to 89 quadrillion BTUs in 1994 (EIA, 2005). As our consumption of energy increases, we must develop environmentally friendly alternatives to fossil fuels.
The United States is particularly vulnerable to oil supply disruptions or price increases since it imports more than 50 percent of its crude oil consumption (EIA, 2002). More efficient and effective utilization of biomass will increase the amount of renewable energy sources used. It will also help to lessen dependence on foreign supplies of fossil fuels. Biomass is an attractive modern energy source provided it can be economically utilized. All types of energy services are being provided today using biomass, with the reliability, safety, and efficiency required by the modern economy and society. Geopolitical considerations also play an important role in energy security. As a result, many countries, including Sweden and Finland, have realized the need to improve the efficiency of energy generation, distribution, and consumption. They have begun to harness local resources as a way to increase the security of the energy supply, reverse fossil fuel dependency, and improve trade balance.
Advantages of Biomass over Other Alternate Energy Sources
Important Applications of Biomass