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Biomass Gasification

Biomass, put simply, is plant material. Biomass gasification is a method of obtaining renewable energy from biomass. It is distinguished from combustion in that it is a clean and nearly zero emission process that does not contribute greenhouse gases to the environment.

Examples of biomass include wood waste, such as sawdust and tree prunings, paper trash and yard clippings as well as agricultural residues, like corn stover, rice straw, wheat straw, or used vegetable oils and fast-growing trees and grasses such as hybrid poplars and switchgrass. Put another way, biomass is stored solar energy that can be converted to fuel or electricity.

Increased use of biomass for energy would lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced dependence on foreign oil, an improved rural economy, and a major new American industry. Biomass is capable of simultaneously addressing the nation's energy, environmental, and economic needs.

European countries have long relied on biomass conversion for a significant fraction of their electricity needs. In the U.S., this process is in the early stage of commercialization. The challenges facing this technology include how to efficiently aggregate the biomass materials and how to distribute and use the fuels it produces.

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