MENU

Show contents for

Biomass energy influence environmental footprint

When Mr. Fusion made its appearance on the back of Doc Brown’s DeLorean in 1989, it foreshadowed a U.S future where trash was fuel.

Adapting to renewable energy sources and utilizing waste is usually a component of America’s utopian future and since Mr. Fusion there have been great strides toward that end. Having said that, the transition is an arduous process as government and private entities are slowly implementing “green” policies. The slowdown is primarily due to cost, feasibility, and continued energy research.

There are several components involved in being “green”. From water conservation and low-energy lighting to alternative fuel sources like biomass, there are many ways to minimize an environmental footprint. Biomass, in particular, has had a dual positive effect – being green and invigorating the agricultural industry. The promise behind farming biomass is so great that federal incentives were created for it in the 2002 Farm Bill. Thanks to biomass research and advancement, it has become feasible and practical for use in the real world.

Farm-created biomass sources

Producing biomass is a valuable opportunity for farms and their surrounding community. The surge in production will revitalize remote communities and the energy created could lead them to be self-sufficient. This gives biomass research and production a two-pronged effect:

  1. Creating cleaner energy,
  2. Revitalizing farm communities.

Using waste, energy crops, and oil plants, farms have discovered multiple ways to produce biomass. Some methods are more work-intensive than others, so farms are finding new ways to create energy-effective and cost-effective biomass. Additionally, animal waste is being utilized along with flora to create potential biomass energy.

The source, while important, is only half the process. The other half is its conversion to energy. Although burning it is popular, new ways of creating energy out of biomass have made it useful in a variety of situations. For example, the conversion into biogas to power public transportation.

Public transportation runs on biogas

Biogas can be converted from different biogas sources such as manure, plant waste, or landfill waste. By heating biomass under pressure, the resulting gas can be collected and stored as an energy source to be used later. This process has proven successful in public transportation as 21.7% of the U.S bus fleet runs on biogas instead of traditional fuel.

As our community and federal leaders, public administrations pursue green opportunities wherever they appear. Providing environmentally-friendly public transportation protects citizens from polluted air, and the consumption of biogas means continued work for farms. It’s a synergistic cycle that revitalizes farming AND provides cleaner urban transportation. Being green, while important and necessary, also helps outward perception. People tend to support the environmentally-friendly option, which means both public and private entities consider their environmental footprint.

Corporate social responsibility

Government departments aren’t the only ones taking advantage of biomass energy. Companies who believe in corporate social responsibility are evolving into environmentally conscious entities. Corporate social responsibility is a recent term defined as the responsibility a company has to their environment and community. For instance, companies such as Disney and Unilever has committed themselves to minimizing their environmental footprint through various green strategies.

The Walt Disney Company has always been innovative, and are aiming to reduce their net emissions by 50%. As early leaders in being green and corporate social responsibility, they have taken advantage of solar energy, biomass, alternative fuels, and energy-efficient utilities. In Epcot, one of their parks, they have built a massive greenhouse and research centre dedicated to agricultural innovation. Guests can tour this area on the ride Living with the Land and learn about the agricultural improvements discoveries.

Unilever is another major company that has promoted their environmentally-friendly mission. They are the brand owners of Axe, Dove, and Lipton to name a few, and have emphasized their pursuit of operating green. Since 2010, they have decreased their waste-for-disposal by 96% and will be carbon positive by 2030. Carbon positive means they will rely only on renewable resources and generate more renewable energy than they consume. They want to be leaders in social responsibility and have made great strides towards that end.

Biomass energy usage is increasing annually as it becomes more feasible and cost-effective. Whether they genuinely want to be environmentally-friendly or want to improve their public appearance, public and private entities have realized being green is the way of the future. Although it may take awhile for everyone to implement green production, some of the most progressive companies are leading the way towards more research and development. Their investment in green development has provided the agricultural industry with new opportunities and job growth.