Biomass

Biomass energy is energy generated from the burning of plant material and consists mostly of agricultural and milling byproducts such as grain and wood pellets.

Wood pellets used to produce biomass energy
Wood pellets used to produce biomass energy.

Biomass is considered a carbon neutral energy source. That means that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released while burning it is equal to the amount of carbon dioxide the plants absorb while being grown.

Biomass silos
Biomass silos owned and operated by Ontario Power Generation.

In Ontario, testing of biomass fuels is being conducted at several coal-fired generating stations. Biomass is mixed in with the coal before it is fed into the furnace. This reduces the amount of coal that needs to be burned at the stations and has several environmental benefits including:

  • Reduction of CO2 emissions
  • Reduction of sulphur emissions
  • Reduction of mercury emissions

Biomass could theoretically replace some or all of the coal being burned at some coal-fired generating stations in Ontario.

The silos shown here store biomass for use at the Nanticoke Generating Station and will help reduce the station’s net CO2 emissions.

Source:

Ontario Power Generation, http://www.opg.com/communities-and-partners/teachers-and-students/Documents/grade9student.pdf.