Before you do anything else, it might be interesting to graphically see the biomass cycle…

BIOMASS AND BIOFUEL

BIOMASS AND BIOFUEL

People have used biomass energy — energy from living things — since the earliest “cave men” first made wood fires for cooking or keeping warm. The most common biomass materials are plants, such as corn and soy. Biomass is an organic renewable energy source that includes materials such as agriculture and forest residues, energy crops, and algae. Used to fuel electric generators and other machinery.

It can also, unlike other renewable energy sources, be converted directly into liquid fuels, called “biofuels,” to help meet transportation fuel needs. Scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy, and its national laboratories, are finding new, more efficient ways to convert biomass into biofuels that can take the place of conventional fuels like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

Examples of biofuels include ethanol (often made from corn in the United States and sugarcane in Brazil), biodiesel (from vegetable oils and liquid animal fats), green diesel (derived from algae and other plant sources), and biogas (methane derived from animal manure and other digested organic material).

Unfortunately, trees are also being burned. About 20% of the energy the EU counts and subsidies as “renewable” comes from logging and burning forest wood. This increases carbon pollution, destroys forest ecosystems, and adds to air pollution. Burning forest biomass isn’t carbon neutral or even “low carbon” as the idea of “renewable” implies. Leading scientists recognize that regrowing forests to offset CO2 from burning wood takes decades to centuries. Not to mention that per unit of energy, biomass results in higher emissions than coal.

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Biofuel Basics

11/18/22
Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels, called "biofuels," to help meet transportation fuel needs. The two most common types of biofuels in use today are ethanol and biodiesel,…

H2Success: Research and Development to Advance a Clean Hydrogen Future

02/18/22
Opening Statements Chairman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) of the Subcommittee on Energy Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) Witnesses

The difference between gray, blue, and green hydrogen

02/15/22
Hydrogen fuel burns clean, so it has potential as a low-carbon energy source — depending on how it’s made. Today, most hydrogen is known as “gray”hydrogen. It’s derived from natural gas using an energy-intensive process…

U.S. Department Of Energy Announces $28 Million To Develop Clean Hydrogen

02/07/22
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $28 million in federal funding for research and development (R&D) and front-end engineering design (FEED) projects that will advance…

EIA releases plant-level U.S. biofuels production capacity data

09/13/21
As of January 1, 2021, total U.S. biofuels plant production capacity reached 21 billion gallons per year (gal/y) (or 1.3 million barrels per day [b/d]), as reported by 278 facilities. Fuel ethanol producers accounted for…

New Maps of Above Ground Biomass Is Set to Help Our Understanding of Global Carbon Cycling

03/21/21
Fluctuations in the carbon-rich biomass held within the world’s forests can contribute to, or slow, climate change. A series of new maps of above ground biomass, generated using space observations, is set to help our…

Towards Fossil-Free Energy in 2050 Report

09/14/20
Paris-compatible climate ambition = Net Zero Emissions in Europe by 2050. It leaves no space for unabated emissions.

The Future of Hydrogen

09/14/20
At the request of the government of Japan under its G20 presidency, the International Energy Agency produced this landmark report to analyse the current state of play for hydrogen and to offer guidance on its…

A Clean Planet for all

09/14/20
Climate change is a serious concern for Europeans. The current changes in our planet's climate are redrawing the world and magnifying the risks for instability in all forms. The last two decades included 18 of…

The hydrogen solution?

09/14/20
A new star has exploded back onto the climate scene: hydrogen. It offers possibilities to move away from fossil fuels, but it brings its own challenges.

How Biodiesel Works

04/25/20
Of course, nothing is without penalty, and biodiesel does have its drawbacks. Some have to do with the fuel itself, and many have to do with the bigger picture.

Ocean Power

04/13/20
Wave- and tidal-energy systems harness natural oceanic flows—among the most powerful and constant dynamics on earth—to generate electricity. A variety of companies, utilities, universities, and governments are working to realize the promise of consistent and…

Producing industrial hydrogen from renewable energy

04/10/20
The vast majority of this industrial hydrogen is produced from coal gasification or steam methane reforming (SMR), both of which need a lot of energy and generate significant carbon dioxide emissions. A much smaller proportion…

Renewable Energy 101: How Does Biomass Energy Work?

04/10/20
The great thing about biomass energy (or simply “bioenergy”) is that its sources are plant and animal waste. So not only does biomass energy divert this organic matter from the waste stream — it turns…

Biomass Energy Basics

04/10/20
Biomass has been in use since people first began burning wood to cook food and keep warm. Wood is still the largest biomass energy resource today. Other sources include food crops, grassy and woody plants,…

Biomass explained

04/10/20
Biomass contains stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun's energy in a process called photosynthesis. When biomass is burned, the chemical energy in biomass is released as heat. Biomass can be burned directly…

Wave and Tidal Energy

04/10/20
Wave and tidal energy harvesting has been around for a few decades. But it has only been in recent years that it has started to become more realistic due to advance in research and technology.…

Wave & Tidal Energy Technology

04/10/20
Wave, tidal and ocean energy technologies are just beginning to reach viability as potential commercial power sources. While just a few small projects currently exist, the technology is advancing rapidly and has huge potential for…

Renewable energy, explained

04/10/20
In any discussion about climate change, renewable energy usually tops the list of changes the world can implement to stave off the worst effects of rising temperatures. That's because renewable energy sources such as solar…

Hydrogen explained

04/10/20
To produce hydrogen, it must be separated from the other elements in the molecules where it occurs. Hydrogen atoms can be separated from water; from hydrocarbons in coal, petroleum, and natural gas; and from biomass.

MORE NEWS

Cornell joins hydrogen fuel hub consortium in New York

By Alicia Moore   04/26/22  
The university and two of its research startups are taking part in an effort to propose the clean energy facility.Cornell as well as two of its research startups have announced that they are joining a…

Is hydrogen a climate savior or a disaster? Cutting through the hype

By Sammy Roth  Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times   03/24/22  
As I admired the beach views from Scattergood Generating Station — a sprawling mess of electrical wires, gas-fired generators and towering red-and-white smokestacks — I couldn’t stop thinking about how this power plant could never…

Green Hydrogen International Announces Hydrogen City, Texas – The World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Hub

03/03/22  
Hydrogen City, Texas will be an integrated green hydrogen production, storage, and transport hub growing to 60GW in size and producing over 2.5 billion kilograms of green hydrogen per year. The project is centered around…

Hydrogen generation could become a $1 trillion per year market, Goldman Sachs says

By Anmar Frangoul  Photo: Krisztian Bocsi , Getty Images   02/24/22  
Hydrogen has an important role to play in any transition to net-zero and its generation could develop into a market worth over $1 trillion a year, according to Goldman Sachs.

How Diesel Giant Cummins Might Beat Tesla In The Green Engine Battle

By Alan Ohnsman   02/23/22  
Cummins Inc.’s stylish, cantilevered steel-and-glass office tower in Indianapolis looks more like the headquarters of a tech company than a business that lives on diesel fumes. The incongruity continues in Columbus, Indiana, where Cummins was…

How Corn Ethanol for Biofuel Fed Climate Change

By Virginia Gewin   02/14/22  
The U.S. is the world leader in biofuel production—generating 47 percent of global output over the last decade. The ten-fold expansion in ethanol production in the U.S. from 2002 to 2019 has been driven by…

Hydrogen-Fueled Planes Could Meet One-Third of Air Travel Demands by 2050

By Sami Grover   02/04/22  
As an Englishman living in the U.S., I was pleased to see Google Flights start to list relative emissions next to every single itinerary. After all, while there is much power in refusing to fly…

Hydrogen is a false climate solution

By Mario Atencio   01/16/22  
Indigenous communities in New Mexico have long dealt with the negative impacts of experimental energy projects promoted by state and federal governments. This legislative session, as the state faces a climate crisis that is already…
CNN

The world is addicted to natural gas. Fossil fuel companies are lobbying hard to keep it that way

By Angela Dewan   12/23/21  
Imagine a world entirely free of fossil fuels. That's no longer such an abstract concept, as most of the everyday things we do can be powered by electricity -- driving a car, heating a home,…

Why Hydrogen Will Likely Be The Gateway To Net-Zero

By Ken Silverstein  Photo: Getty Images   12/08/21  
When Plug Power Inc. hosted its grand opening of a fuel cell and electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Rochester, N.Y this year, it explicitly said that hydrogen produced from clean energy would be the next big…

The Millions of Tons of Carbon Emissions That Don’t Officially Exist

By Sarah Miller  Photo: Bill Allsopp / Getty   12/08/21  
In the North of England, in a tiny village called Drax, there is a power plant, also called Drax. The name is ominous: the sad honk of a mistake, ending in a hazardous-chemical “X.”

Europe burns a controversial ‘renewable’ energy source: trees from the U.S.

By Sarah Gibbens  Photo: Erin Schaff, The New York Times/Redux   11/11/21  
As world leaders pledge more action on climate change, one so-called solution—burning trees for electricity—could undermine progress.

What you need to know about hydrogen – cure-all, or just another wild wish?

By SueEllen Campbell  Photo: Jason Lawrence   11/05/21  
You’ve likely heard about the potential for hydrogen to provide renewable, carbon-free energy. But how realistic are the possibilities? Where are things now on developing, or avoiding, them? Is it a panacea or a boondoggle,…

‘No commercial case for green hydrogen’ yet: Siemens Energy CEO

By Anmar Frangoul   10/20/21  
The CEO of Siemens Energy has spoken of the challenges facing the green hydrogen sector, telling CNBC that there was “no commercial case” for it at this moment in time. In comments made during a…

Green growth for the Gulf

By Julian Spector   10/20/21  
An energy transition will make more friends if it brings workers along rather than leaving them behind. That doesn’t always happen, for instance, in a shift from coal power to solar plants. But sometimes experts…

DOE commits $20M to create clean hydrogen from nuclear power with Palo Verde project

By Scott Van Voorhis   10/12/21  
The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday unveiled plans to spend $20 million on research into the production of clean hydrogen from nuclear power. The money will help pay for a demonstration project by PNW…

Green Hydrogen’s Rapidly Falling Costs Undermine the Gas Industry’s Argument for Blue Hydrogen

By Justin Mikulka   09/30/21  
New research predicts that green hydrogen — a clean fuel produced from water using renewables — will be comparable in cost and likely cheaper than blue hydrogen by 2030. This is much sooner than what the blue…

Fossil Fuel Companies Say Hydrogen Made From Natural Gas Is a Climate Solution. But the Tech May Not Be Very Green

By Alejandro de la Garza  llustration by Dan Page for TIME   09/22/21  
As a committee of climate scientists and environmental officials deliberated over how to drastically cut New York State’s carbon footprint last summer, natural gas industry representatives were putting forward a counterintuitive pitch: hydrogen, made from…

Largest U.S. biofuels producer pledges carbon neutrality by 2050

By Stephanie Kelly  Photo: Jason Reed , Reuters   09/16/21  
 POET, the largest biofuels producer in the United States, said on Wednesday it is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions at its bioprocessing facilities by 2050, making it the latest company to pledge to reduce…

Is Hydrogen A Climate Silver Bullet, Or Fossil Fuel Industry Spin?

By David Vetter  Photo: Tanja Geis , Earth Justice   09/02/21  
When it comes to cutting carbon emissions, where does hydrogen belong? The gas, which releases no greenhouse gases when burned for energy, has been touted as a promising route by which countries can achieve their…

Blue Hydrogen Study Finds It Isn’t Climate-Friendly, Igniting Fierce Debate Over Emissions

By Eduardo Garcia  Photo: Sean Gallup , Getty Images   08/20/21  
Blue hydrogen, a purportedly green fuel that is typically extracted from natural gas, has long been touted as a climate solution but a controversial peer-reviewed study released last week argues its production is linked to…

Sweden’s HYBRIT Delivers Fossil-Free Steel

By Lloyd Alter   08/20/21  
The making of steel releases a lot of carbon dioxide. It's chemistry; iron ore is basically rust, also known as iron oxide. You get rid of the oxygen by mixing in pulverized coal; the carbon…

Will hydrogen usher in a new era of collaboration between gas and electric utilities?

By Emma Penrod  Photo: Adelene Kon , Utilitydive   08/19/21  
Nestled amid the rolling hills and rivers of the Pacific Northwest, the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) has the sort of problem many U.S. utilities still dream of: too much renewable energy.

‘Blue’ Hydrogen May Not Be a Very ‘Green’ Energy Source After All

By David Kindy  Photo: Friso Gentsch , Getty Images   08/17/21  
Hydrogen is often viewed as the fuel of the future. Scientists initally predicted it will be clean, renewable and efficient. Making it work, though, might be a problem. Some of the current technologies, including a…

Is California’s ‘Hydrogen Highway’ a road to nowhere?

By Evan Halper  Photo: Carolyn Cole   08/10/21  
Soon after Maribel Munoz joined the trailblazing ranks of American owners of hydrogen cars — a group that exists only in California — she began to fear that the low price of the taxpayer-subsidized Toyota…

Entergy touts hydrogen as tool to meet industrial customers’ green goals

By Jason Plautz  Photo: Adeline Kon   08/06/21  
Entergy Corporation touted its steps to help its commercial and industrial customers meet their sustainability goals in its second quarter earnings call on Wednesday, including plans for a new natural gas and hydrogen facility in Texas and…

Hydrogen pilot projects advance, evolve at gas utilities

By Tom DiChristopher   08/06/21  
Gas utilities continue to advance hydrogen pilot projects as the industry focuses on long-term solutions for decarbonizing pipeline networks. Local distribution companies offered updates on their programs during a packed day of quarterly earnings conference…

New Bipartisan Energy Storage Caucus Has Green Hydrogen Up Its Sleeve

By Tina Casey  Photo: Arturo Rivera , Unsplash   08/05/21  
U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) launched the first bipartisan “Energy Storage Caucus” in Congress in 2019, with a strong focus on battery-type technology. That iteration of the caucus seems to have sputtered out, but now…

EXCLUSIVE White House delays biofuel mandates due to political concerns -sources

By Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw   07/21/21  
 The White House has delayed an annual process meant to decide how much ethanol and other biofuels U.S. oil refiners need to blend into their fuel each year, as it seeks a solution for an…

New York to test green hydrogen at Long Island power plant

By Scott Van Voorhis   07/12/21  
The New York Power Authority is gearing up to launch a green hydrogen demonstration project at its gas-fired power plant on Long Island.
CNN

How marginalized communities in the South are paying the price for ‘green energy’ in Europe

By Majlie de Puy Kamp   07/09/21  
Andrea Macklin never turns off his TV. It’s the only way to drown out the noise from the wood mill bordering his backyard, the jackhammer sound of the plant piercing his walls and windows. The…

United Airlines aims to suck carbon dioxide from the friendly skies

By Steven Mufson   06/25/21  
United Airlines is investing in a venture that doesn’t make airplanes, transport passengers or ring up frequent-flier miles on the company’s credit cards. And even as it posts losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, United is providing…

EU eyes tighter rules for ‘renewable’ biomass energy – draft

By Kate Abnett  Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe   06/17/21  
The European Union is considering tightening rules on whether wood-burning energy can be classed as renewable and count towards green goals, according to a draft document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

Everything but the (forest) sink

By Philippa Nuttall Jones  Photo: NGO ZERO   06/16/21  
The EU has led the way in including the burning of “sustainable” wood in renewable energy goals. However, as global emissions fail to drop, the window for climate action narrows, and natural habitats and species…

U.S. seeks less costly clean hydrogen in climate fight

By Kevin Lamarque   06/08/21  
The Biden administration on Monday set a goal of reducing the cost of producing clean hydrogen, a fuel that could reduce dependence on others that emit greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The Department of…

California coalition aims to make hydrogen power cost-competitive by 2028

By Emma Penrod  Photo: Adeline Kon/Utility Dive   05/17/21  
HyDeal Los Angeles, a green hydrogen initiative launched in Los Angeles on Monday, aims to bring the cost of hydrogen fuel to $1.50/kg by 2028. At that price, electricity from hydrogen-fired turbines would run about…

Hype and hydrogen starting with the same letters isn’t a coincidence

By Michael Barnard   05/08/21  
There’s been a recent emergence of the ‘hydrogen economy’ nonsense globally. Governments globally have been creating roadmaps and budgets. Lobbyists from legacy energy businesses have been all over politicians and the media, trying to get…

Using hydrogen fuel risks locking in reliance on fossil fuels, researchers warn

By Damian Carrington  Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images   05/06/21  
Using hydrogen-based fuels for cars and home heating risks locking in a dependency on fossil fuels and failing to tackle the climate crisis, according to a new analysis. Fuels produced from hydrogen can be used…

Green Hydrogen Is Bubbling with Hype—Again

04/09/21  
It’s lighter than air, more common than carbon, and burns with a bang into a puff of pure water vapor. Some see it as an essential element in decarbonizing electricity, transportation, and even steelmaking. Hydrogen…

The ‘Green Energy’ That Might Be Ruining the Planet

By Michael Grunwald  Photo: Mehmet Demirci   03/26/21  
Here’s a multibillion-dollar question that could help determine the fate of the global climate: If a tree falls in a forest—and then it’s driven to a mill, where it’s chopped and chipped and compressed into…

Exxon Mobil to invest $3 billion in carbon capture and other projects to lower emissions.

Michael J. de la Merced  Photo: Ben Torres   02/01/21  
Exxon Mobil, which has long been criticized by environmentalists and some investors and elected leaders for not doing enough to curb climate change, said on Monday it would invest $3 billion over the next five…

To Counter Climate Change, We Need to Stop Burning Things

By Bill McKibben  Photo: Liam McBurney , AP   01/22/21  
If one wanted a basic rule of thumb for dealing with the climate crisis, it would be: stop burning things. Human beings have made use of combustion for a very long time, ever since the…

United Airlines aims to suck carbon dioxide from the friendly skies

By Steven Mufson   01/12/21  
United Airlines is investing in a venture that doesn’t make airplanes, transport passengers or ring up frequent-flier miles on the company’s credit cards. And even as it posts losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, United is providing…

Why We Need Green Hydrogen

By Renee Cho  Photo: Raymondclarkimages   01/07/21  
Green hydrogen has been in the news often lately. President-elect Biden has promised to use renewable energy to produce green hydrogen that costs less than natural gas.

The Gospel of Hydrogen Power

By Roy Furchgott  Photo: Kat Slootsky for The New York Times   12/28/20  
In December, the California Fuel Cell Partnership tallied 8,890 electric cars and 48 electric buses running on hydrogen batteries, which are refillable in minutes at any of 42 stations there. On the East Coast, the…

S&P: Hydrogen offers opportunity for energy transition, but economics remain difficult before 2030

By Emma Penrod  Photo by Adelene Kon   11/30/20  
Economic viability for green hydrogen would require a 50% decrease in renewable energy costs, and a 30-50% reduction in the cost of electrolysis — declines within the realm of possibility, but likely not before 2030,…

Trump administration issues strategic framework to direct federal hydrogen research

By Emma Penrod  Photo by Adeline Kon   11/16/20  
Dajani said she was surprised by the timing of the report, which was released despite the expected transition in presidential authority. Biden may choose to make some changes, but the fact that the Trump administration…

California Is Trying to Jump-Start the Hydrogen Economy – The New York Times

By Ivan Penn and Clifford Krauss  Photo by Philip Cheung   11/11/20  
That hydrogen pump, in Washington, closed long ago. But in California, the beginnings of a hydrogen economy may finally be dawning after many fits and starts.

California is trying to jumpstart the economy

By Ivan Penn and Clifford Krauss   11/11/20  
That hydrogen pump, in Washington, closed long ago. But in California, the beginnings of a hydrogen economy may finally be dawning after many fits and starts.

Should the Hydrogen Economy Actually Be an Ammonia Economy?

By Lloyd Alter  Photo by Getty Images   10/07/20  
Fritz Haber won the Nobel Prize in 1918 for inventing what became known as the Haber-Bosch process (Bosch made it more efficient), which takes nitrogen out of the air and reacts it with hydrogen to…