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Biomass Energy: the conversion of waste into energy

Biomass Energy: the conversion of waste into energy

How has climate change affected us locally?
Like all other regions of the globe California has seen the effects of climate change in the form of extreme drought, hotter summers, increase in our already devastating fire seasons, and the erosion of our coastlines due to rising sea levels. California has identified a huge contributor to climate change in our region as methane emissions from our landfills. California has proposed solutions they feel can assist in reversing climate change and paving the way for a more sustainable future with a target to reduce total waste disposal 75% by 2025. SB 1383, signed into lay in 2016, which establishes this emission reduction target in a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (greenhouse gasses) in various sectors of California’s economy. This bill proposes to specifically reduce organic waste in landfills which will ultimately reduce the amount of total waste disposal. Organic waste in landfills emits 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant, which is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

 Organic Waste - largest waste stream in CAOrganic waste is the largest waste stream in California. The City of San Rafael provides this image to show approximate tons of waste that is disposed of in California each year.

Biomass energy contributes to California’s target goals to reduce landfill waste but what happens to the organic matter if it isn’t being thrown away?
California has identified one solution, which continues to align with the goal of a more sustainable future, which is to convert organic matter that was ending up in our landfills into what’s called biomass energy. The organic matter consists of any material that is biodegradable and comes form either a plant of an animal which can be burned directly for heat or converted to renewable liquid and gaseous fuels through various processes. This renewable energy, derived from these natural sources, can be replenished at a higher rate than it is consumed and paves the way for the sustainable future we are collectively striving for. As a natural part of photosynthesis biomass fuels only release the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as was absorbed by plants in the course of its lifecycle making biomass energy carbon neutral.

4 Fast facts about biomassOffice of Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) provides 4 facts about biomass.

Biomass energy, while carbon neutral and better for the environment than traditional nonrenewable energy from fossil fuels, still poses some disadvantages. But organizations like the Biomass Program initiated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) were developed to enhance the benefits while mitigating any potential environmental impacts of this energy production. EERE is the hub of renewable energy applied research, development, and demonstration activities in the United States. Renewable Energy sources such as solar and wind are most commonly known to the general public but there are other natural resources that can be converted into renewable energy such as biomass. Experts expect to continue to see advancement in the production of biomass energy furthering the benefits to the environment and we are excited to see these advancements and what the future holds for California by utilizing this renewable energy source.

GTH is committed to contributing to the development of renewable energy systems. With a legacy of 90 years in business in the Western United States, our solutions are intricately designed to handle the requirements of our region and its businesses needs. There is a century of expertise built into each of our solutions. That is decades of watching industry trends, building relationships with technology providers, and growing knowledge of the intricacies of our hardware and software components to ensure what we deliver is exactly what our customers need. In 2023 and beyond we want to utilize our expertise to assist renewable energy facility operators in improving their automation needs.

To learn more about GTH’s complete capabilities download our company profile.

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