Using Biomass on the Farm
Biomass is a largely untapped energy resource found on every farm

Biomass is organic matter

Biomass is organic matter, such as wood by-products and agricultural wastes, that can be burned to produce energy, or converted into a gas and used for fuel. Biomass is a largely untapped energy resource found on every farm. With a little work, biomass can be easily converted into a valuable source of heat and energy. Imagine making money off of your manure, corn stalks, woody-brush, or even weeds and grasses. By utilizing more of the biological material that grows on the farm, you can gain more value from each acre. And because biomass is renewable, meaning we can easily replace harvested trees or crops, these energy-rich waste materials are sustainable indefinitely.

Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun’s energy through the process of photosynthesis, and this chemical energy is then passed on to the animals and people that eat them. When burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. For example, burning wood waste or garbage produces steam for making electricity or for providing heat to industries and homes.

There are many ways to convert biomass to energy. Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Methane, the main ingredient of natural gas, is found when carbon based wastes decompose. These types of wastes are found in landfills, agricultural byproducts and human waste. Crops like corn and sugar cane can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from left-over biomass products like vegetable oils and animal fats or through the processing of oil seeds.

Producing energy from biomass has both environmental and economic advantages. It is cost-effective when a local fuel source is used. Utilizing local resources results in local investment and employment. Furthermore, biomass can contribute to waste management by harnessing energy from products that are often disposed of at landfill sites. Eliminating disposal costs from your farm’s balance sheet or producing a valuable by-product, while simultaneously reducing your energy costs will result in significant savings and environmental benefits, all while helping to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Go to: Biomass Pamphlets/Farm Book