What is Biomass?
To better understand the advantages and disadvantages of biomass, one must first know what the term means. When an alternative fuel is created, there must be a beginning source for the alcohol. Currently, the most common sources are corn and soybeans, but algae are gaining quickly. Corn and soybeans have much the same set of pros and cons. Algae, on the other hand, is a star player that may be the best of all.
Corn and Soybeans – Good or Bad?
While fossil fuels are the worst source of energy, corn and soybeans would have to fall in close behind. This is not because they are not beneficial to the environment, but rather because of the net energy gain these sources create. A good biomass will result in the production of energy that outweighs the energy needed to produce the fuel in the first place. This cannot be said for corn and soybeans.
Algae – The New Guy
Using algae as biomass is a relatively new concept, but one that people are quickly learning to love. Algae have the ability to produce 100 times more fuel per acre than any other biomass currently being used. This certainly pushes algae into the upper echelon of competition.
Without the positive benefit of net energy gain, manufacturing biofuels is all for the crowd. The Earth and human race need a source of fuel that will cost less, environmentally, than the energy it gives and currently biomass sources do not fulfill that need.