kat5093.doc #2 - EGEE 101-Mathews Biomass in the energy...

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EGEE 101—Mathews Biomass in the energy system (electricity generation and transport fuels), climate savior or boondoggle? Kelly Tait kat5093 Abstract This report deals with the use of biomass as an efficient fuel to help protect our climate. The environmental and climate changes have been a growing problem since the Industrial Revolution and will not cease until society finds a means of how to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from getting caught in our atmosphere. The answer to these problems is biomass, biofuel, biogas, etc. All these examples help lessen the carbon dioxide, sulfur, and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. It also is a great backup plan for when the day comes and there is no longer coal or any other fossil fuel as an energy source. Biomass not only benefits the environment, but also there is an increase in jobs, trade deficit, renewable energy, and opportunity for new industry development. There are many solutions to reducing gas emissions and pollutants in our atmosphere, but when compared and contrasted nothing compares to the benefits of using biomass which is the main discussion for many panels and universities in the world today. Each section slowly draws out the point of this essay and finally gives a clear argument of why biomass is more of a climate savior than a boondoggle and also gives great references to websites that go into further detail (for those who are interested in learning more about this energy resource). Index Terms – biofuels, bio-diesel, co-firing, ethanol, and renewable energy. I NTRODUCTION : T HE P ROBLEM W ITH O UR C LIMATE Since the Industrial Revolution (around 1750), human activities have substantially added to the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere ( IPCC, 2007 ) . The burning of fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) has also resulted in emissions of aerosols that absorb and emit heat and reflect light. The addition of greenhouse gases and aerosols has changed the composition of the atmosphere. The changes in the atmosphere have likely influenced temperature, precipitation, storms and sea level ( IPCC, 2007 ) . Because greenhouse gases absorb and emit heat, the atmospheric temperature has increased therefore causing the problem we face today, global warming. The predicted effects of global warming on the environment and for human life are numerous and varied. It is generally difficult to attribute specific natural phenomena to long-term causes, but some effects of recent climate change may already be occurring (IPCC, 2007) . Raising sea levels , glacier retreat , Arctic shrinkage , and altered patterns of agriculture are cited as direct consequences, but predictions for secondary and regional effects include extreme weather events, an expansion of tropical diseases , changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems , and drastic economic impact (IPCC, 2007) . Along with global warming, we also face many components that not only harm our atmosphere but
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course EGEE 101 taught by Professor Mathews,jonathan during the Spring '06 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

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kat5093.doc #2 - EGEE 101-Mathews Biomass in the energy...

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