• There are not many disadvantages of biomass energy, but there are a few

  • For some biomass sources large amounts of water and land may be needed

  • Even with the disadvantages of biomass energy it is a definite leader when it comes to meeting future energy needs

Just like all other renewable alternative energy sources, biomass offers both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of biomass energy do not number a lot, and when these are compared against the same factors for fossil fuels, like coal, oil, and natural gas, these disadvantages look even smaller and more insignificant. One of the biggest drawbacks that this energy source has is that there are some greenhouse gas emissions from the process. Some renewable power sources are completely clean, but biomass is not one of them. Carbon Dioxide and other gases can be released into the air, to harm the ozone and damage the earth, contributing to an acceleration of global warming and the associated effects. The first biomass feedstocks used were corn and soybeans, and this was an issue for many third world countries and foreign populations because of allegations that biofuels were taking from the global food supply, and causing higher food prices and world hunger. This is no longer necessary, because there are many other plants and organic materials which can be used as a feedstock, ones that have no effect at all on the global food supply or prices. Some plants, like rapeseed and jojoba can be grown on land that is not fertile, and these plants require little water.

Another one of the disadvantages of biomass energy is the massive amounts of land and water needed to grow enough plants to provide all the energy required by the global population. To replace fossil fuels completely with biomass derived power is not really feasible, at least in the near future. Many experts believe that there will not be one single alternative renewable source to replace fossil fuels, but rather that a number of different clean energy sources will be used instead. In addition, some species of algae and fungus have been found to be another source of renewable power, so it is possible that the feedstocks used for biomass energy in the future will not even require land, and the water requirement could be eliminated as well with some types of fungi. These developments could allow power to be generated on a large scale basis without taking away food, water, or land that is needed for other purposes. Further research is needed though, and this may lead to methods and biomass that do not have any disadvantages at all, and instead simply provides clean power.

The disadvantages of biomass energy will vary, depending on the types of biomass used. Municipal waste to energy programs, food waste to energy processes, algae, fungi, trees, plants, and other organic materials can be used in the generation process, and the specific type used will determine which disadvantages are present. There have been modified vehicles which used wood, vegetable oil, household trash, and other organic materials to provide the power needed to travel, but they have not always been efficient. As technology advances and further discoveries are made when it comes to better biomass sources, many of the drawbacks that this process has will be eliminated. There are cleaner and more eco-friendly choices available for renewable energy, and these do not have the disadvantages of biomass energy, but they do have other problems or drawbacks instead. Some may not be able to provide power steadily, or meet demand at peak times, while others may have very narrow requirements which must be met to be efficient and effective. No source is going to be perfect, without any flaws, but there are some which have less of an impact on the world than the fossil fuels being used most often right now. The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks when it comes to biomass energy, as long as it is done in the most efficient and least disruptive manner.

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