Things To Know:  Biomass is a word for anything organic whose long carbon hydrogen chains can be harnessed for energy.  Sand and steel are about the only things that don’t qualify as biomass.  Days of reckoning for environmentalists who advocated “don’t touch” forestry policies came in the year 2002.  Even if a fraction of the woodlands now reduced to cinders were thinned and subsequently used to fuel biomass energy production, billions could have been saved, houses would have survived, and even the politically sensitive CO2 emissions would’ve been drastically reduced were it not for this tragic waste.  The country hasn’t seen such a failure of common sense since Moe of THREE STOOGES fame thought that a drill he’d found was his boat’s “water leter outer.”  Of course, biomass is more than just trees.  Cow manure, grass clippings, the garbage, and even human excrement can be harnessed for substantial energy production.

Wood and Grass Clipping Fired Biomass:  Wood can be harnessed for its energy using three basic Methods.  The first has been around since the days of cavemen, simple combustion.  The second is a little more new aged and requires more time and effort. The cellulose fiber is broken down and distilled into alcohol.  Methanol, sometimes called wood alcohol and ethanol are good examples of this method.  The third technique is the cutting edge and is called pyrolisis.  This involves preheating the biomass to the point it vaporizes in an oxygen-starved environment, and then burning this vapor in an oxygen-rich environment.  Examples of these techniques are on the following web sites:,

Biodiesel:  Biodiesel is a diesel fuel made from plant extracts and is more or less just as good as the real deal.  The primary advantage that this fuel offers is that it is interchangeable with the petroleum derivative, but can be made right here in the USA.  Given the fact that America doesn’t seem to be afflicted by the curse of starvation at this point in history, vast quantities of biodiesel could potentially be made from specialized plants grown in spare fields.  More information on this topic can be acquired from the following web sites:

The Garbage:  While it’s true, many facilities are now turning our waste to energy, this is but fraction of the potential waste to energy (WTE) has to offer.  New York currently faces a waste crisis.  With only a little resourcefulness they wouldn’t have to burry a single thing and over the long run could actually start making money.  Harkening back to the days when the garbage was simply burned in an open pit, many think that trash burning is still a dirty thing.  While this sentiment may have been justified 50 years ago, it is now mostly irrational.  Burning and anti pollution technologies have become so advanced that even dioxin emissions are a thing of the past.  More information on the potential of WTE can be found from the following web sites:, and

Anaerobic Digestion:  All Farmers Who Possess Animals Should Read Carefully.  Even cow excrement now has an inherent value.  Decomposition of animal wastes normally takes place when bacteria devour organic material and exhume CO2.  With an elevated temperature and a lack of oxygen, bacteria will begin exhuming CH4 instead.  The gas can then be burned to create heat or electricity enough for hundreds of homes.  Pre-manufactured self-contained devices now exist that can harness the energy and other byproducts of the animal wastes automatically.  Repayment is anticipated to be 5 years or less.  A similar phenomenon is also happening in the sewage industry.  The new sewage treatment facility of Freiberg, East Germany employs a system able to recover methane from decomposing human wastes.  The gas is burned in a generator, which is able to provide a third of the entire plant’s energy needs.  I’m sorry I have no solid web sites for the sewage plant administrators out there.  Further information for the farmers can be found at the web site:

All technologies are currently in production and operating.

Please advise the 2020 Institute if you feel we’ve left out any must see statistics or new technologies in this area or if you feel we’ve inadvertently misrepresented anything on this page.