In Massachusetts a lot of energy is spent touting the solar sector as a leading renewable energy source in ensuring the Commonwealth will meet or exceed goals for sourcing our energy needs. Our renewable future is looking a lot more diverse.
There is no denying we’re seeing the benefits here in MA and in other New England states. It is good for the environment. It is good for the economy: 80k jobs have been created since 2007. Most of these jobs pay well. They are interesting and provide an excellent service to the region.
For our state, for the Northeast and for the country one size does not fit all. Our energy future is stored in a variety of renewable sources that for different reasons work best for different communities. We want to buy local. We want to source our food local. Renewable energy sources allow resource poor regions like New England an opportunity to source much of the energy locally. In this segment we’ll give an overview of Biomass.
Biomass includes a variety of versatile renewable fuel sources derived from organic plant and animal material, such as wood, crops, landfill gas, solid waste, and alcohol fuels. These locally produced resources can be used to generate electricity, provide heat, and develop alternative transportation fuels. On August 30 the president of the United States signed and executive order which facilitates investments in industrial efficiency.
This is important to biomass in our region because it includes promotion of combined heat and power (ChP) systems. Biomass is one way that manufacturers and communities can provide industrial space with localized energy while managing waste, managing forests and promoting other ‘green’ use of industrial space including indoor agriculture. Biomass has gotten a share of negativity when incineration facilities are considered. There are questions of sourcing materials in a responsible manner and of course the issue of burning which may or may not make a facility ‘carbon neutral’.
The production of Biochar and the secondary effluence of the latest closed-loop Biomass process represents the most compelling use of the technology. Companies such as the TerraLogix Group have created a system to convert some of the most biologically problematic waste streams to energy and valuable products, and to foster a potential agricultural revolution; greatly reduce nutrient inputs to aquatic systems, and sequester current-day carbon while doing so. The system is based upon pyrolysis, or anaerobic combustion, of bio-wastes, including manure, municipal sludge, paper mill sludge, and any other biologically produced waste material. The pyrolysis reaction produces energy and fuels for electricity generation, as well as biochar, a potent soil catalyst and a form of permanent carbon storage once incorporated into soils.
This type of system, one that ensures no air, water or other pollution while converting this effluence to revenue-generating products presents the greatest opportunity to farmers, food processors, municipalities and soon consumers. Law now requires institutional organic waste in Massachusetts cannot be placed in landfills. Soon this regulation will extend to all citizens. We are on the cusp of an era where our organic waste, including those laced with pathogens and pharmaceuticals will no longer be trash but considered a currency.
For a copy of TerraLogix White Paper, “Nasty to Nice” click here.
For the latest Massachusetts State information on BioMass click here.