How Does Biomass Work?

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The purpose of biomass is to store energy from the sun, and it does so by using the process of photosynthesis to prevent the atmosphere from becoming too warm. Discover how biomass stores carbon dioxide with help from a science teacher in this free video on biomass and energy.

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Hi, I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you how biomass works. Well, first of all, what is biomass? Just looking at it, you can see bio, it's biological, it is living, it's plant life. And biomass, well, mass is matter. And the purpose of biomass is to store energy from the sun. That's what we're talking about, we're storing energy from the sun. Biomass, that is living matter, using the process of photosynthesis, locks CO2 up in the plants, and prevents it coating the atmosphere with a layer of CO2 and making the atmosphere too warm. It is that that keeps our planet as it is. We can recover that energy very simply by burning the biomass, or reacting it in some way or other. The one problem with biomass is that to actually leave it to decay is not a good idea, because, in fact, you end up producing methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is even worse than carbon dioxide, twelve times worse. So it's something we need to avoid. Also, we have to understand that although biomass is a big storer of carbon dioxide of these gases, the seas actually are even bigger still. And our seas tend to regulate our carbon dioxide level, so don't worry too much. If all the trees went, we certainly wouldn't have just carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So, basically, biomass is the material which stores, through photosynthesis, carbon dioxide. Locks up the energy from the sun so that we can use it, but also prevents carbon dioxide making the planet too warm.

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