BIOMASS AS AN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE IN NIGERIAN ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY
Biomass is solar energy stored in organic matter. As trees and plants grow, the process of photosynthesis uses energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates (sugars, starches and cellulose). Carbohydrates are the organic compounds that make up biomass. When plants die, the process of decay releases the energy stored in carbohydrates and discharges carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Biomass is a renewable energy source because the growth of new plants and trees replenishes the supply.
Over millions of years, natural processes in the earth transformed organic matter into today´s fossil fuels: oil, natural gas and coal. Fossil fuels are not renewable. The oil, natural gas and coal we use today are gone forever.
The use of biomassi for energy causes no net increase in carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere. As trees and plants grow, they remove carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. If the amount of new biomass growth balances the biomassa used for energy, bioenergy is carbon dioxide “neutral.” That is, the use of biomass for energy does not increase carbon dioxide emissions and does not contribute to the risk of global climate change. In addition, using biomass to produce energy is often a way to dispose of waste materials that otherwise would create environmental risks.