Fueling the Future — Biomass: Energy from Plants and by oliverhoyt



Foreword                                                         8
Introduction                                                     10

Chapter 1: The Development of Biomass as
an Energy Source
 1. Fire: The First Use of Biomass                               18
    Norm Kidder
    Early humans learned to control fire and used it for a
    variety of purposes, from heating shelters to cooking

 2. How Biomass Energy Works                                     22
    The Union of Concerned Scientists
    Plant and animal wastes can be used to heat homes,
    power automobiles, and generate electricity.

 3. The Rise and Fall of California’s Biomass Industry           31
    Gregory Morris
    California became the world’s leader in biomass energy
    development in the 1980s and 1990s, when oil and gas
    prices rose. When they fell, interest in biomass waned
    as well.

Chapter 2: Debates over Biomass
 1. Biomass Should Be Used to Produce                            42
     Transportation Fuels
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory
    An energy research lab contends that using biomass from
    currently available materials to make transportation fuels
    could cut U.S. petroleum consumption by 30 percent.
2. Biomass Should Not Be Used to Produce                       47
    Transportation Fuels
   David Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek
   A prominent ecologist and an environmental engineer
   argue that using biomass to produce fuels takes more
   energy than it produces.

3. Increasing the Use of Biofuels Will Lead to Mass            52
   George Monbiot
   Using land to grow crops to be used as transportation
   fuels instead of food will increase worldwide hunger.

4. Increasing the Use of Biofuels Could Eradicate              59
    Hunger Worldwide
   United Nations Food and Agriculture Association
   Growing crops to be turned into fuels can improve the
   economies of poor nations, thereby helping to eliminate
   poverty and hunger.

5. The Use of Biomass Energy Harms the                         64
   An environmental organization argues that cutting down
   trees for fuel and clearing forests to make room for fuel
   crops is environmentally destructive.

6. The Use of Biomass Energy Benefits the                      68
   Natural Resources Defense Council
   An environmental organization contends that using
   more energy from biomass and less from fossil fuels
   would reduce the harmful emissions that lead to global
Chapter 3: The Future of Biomass Energy
 1. Biomass Energy Will Reduce Dependence on                      74
     Fossil Fuels
    Amory B. Lovins and E. Kyle Datta
    Two top authorities on U.S. oil dependence argue that
    biofuels will be an important part of the country’s future
    energy plan.

 2. Biofuels Will Benefit Farmers                                80
    U.S. Department of Energy
    The department that establishes America’s energy policy
    explains how farmers can increase profits by growing
    crops for biofuels.

 3. Microbes Could Make Ethanol Production Easier                 87
    Paul Elias
    Researchers are finding that certain microbes, some of
    which are normally considered pests, make the production
    of ethanol simple and efficient.

 4. Burning Landfill Gas for Energy Can Reduce                    91
     Global Warming
    Natural Resources Defense Council
    An environmental organization claims that burning the
    gas produced in landfills when organic matter decomposes
    can provide usable energy and reduce harmful emissions.

Facts About Biomass                                               98
Glossary                                                         102
Chronology                                                       105
For Further Reading                                              109
Index                                                            114
Picture Credits                                                  119
About the Editor                                                 120

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