Public and Private Investments Help Advance Biomass Energy Research

A press release from the Department of Energy website reports that in their Biomass 2013 annual conference, Department Secretary Ernest Moniz “highlighted the important role biofuels play in the Administration’s Climate Action Plan to increase our energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector”. 

The secretary also announced that new investments on research algae fuels worth $16 million will be spent to aid the development of the cost-effective fuel. Additionally, more than $5 million will go to streamlining the biomass feedstock supply chain for advanced biofuels. Moniz hopes that the partnership the department has with industry research units and universities will “help make clean, renewable biofuels cost-competitive with gasoline, give drivers more options at the pump and cut harmful carbon pollution.”

According to the official website of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the renewable biomass energy is the oldest source of renewable energy and has, until recently, “supplied far more renewable electricity-or biopower”-than wind and solar power combined.” Developed properly, UCS believes that that biomass can single-handedly increase the amounts of biopower.

Beneficial biomass, or sources of biopower that can be extracted and/or processed sustainably comes from energy crops which can grow on lands that are not designated for planting food crops, portions of crop residues, sustainably-harvested wood and forest residues, and clean municipal and industrial wastes. Beneficial biomass helps in balancing the terrestrial carbon cycle by keeping the carbon emissions into the atmosphere low.

By growing trees and grasses that are non food crops in their native habitat, carbon in the atmosphere will be stored into the plants and within the soil. A native variety of switchgrass, which grows quickly in several regions in the United States, can, for example, be harvested for up to 10 years before replanting. While it is mostly cultivated as a livestock feed, the hardy, flood and drought resistant crop can be used in the production of biofuels.

For organizations who are looking to take part in the green revolution, it is possible to help the environmental cause by supporting green energy investments. Emerald Knight, a British company that aids green projects that are also socially responsible, is one of the many consultancies that can be sought when looking for means to invest on a meaningful and earth-friendly undertakings.

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