Is Biomass Energy the Future of Conservation?

Conservation is all about being efficient. That’s all it is. Basically, instead of taking up 100%, for example, to produce 100%, you take 20% to produce 100%. I know it sounds too good to be true. After all, the whole concept of getting something for nothing has been with mankind since forever. The whole concept of getting a freebie or getting something with very, very minimal effort is part of the human condition. In fact, a lot of people are saying that it’s hard-wired into human nature to desire such exchanges.

But it’s also true that people are usually suspicious and skeptical of such promises because, hey, let’s face it. Free lunch has yet to be invented. Well, interestingly enough when it comes to conservation and energy generation, we can come close to “free.” Seriously. Why? Waste. That’s the one word you need to wrap your mind around because any activity, whether it’s economic, biological or what have you, produces waste.

Waste comes in many different forms and now that we have the technology to turn a large chunk of that waste into energy that we can use, it’s very easy to get excited. This is the whole biomass movement and believe me, it has a lot going for it. You may be thinking to yourself the Credit River Valley area has a lot of energy sources. We’re talking about a lot of rivers. We’re talking about a lot of free-flowing waters. But that’s precisely the point.

Instead of damming those up, instead of putting all sorts of contraptions to trap all that energy, why not just focus on the energy that we’re already producing 100% free? I am, of course, talking about our waste. Every single day, every human being produces at least a couple of kilos worth of waste, whether it’s in solid or liquid form doesn’t really matter. We produce waste. We are a waste production machine.

This is a golden opportunity because by looking at conversion instead of instinctively running away from that waste and thinking it’s disgusting and trying to bury it, burn it or otherwise get rid of it, we can look at that biomass waste as a form of renewable energy. There are many ways we can go. The most obvious is also the least efficient. The most obvious is to take all the solid human waste and turn it into gas energy.

This technology has been around for a long time. This is usually used in the agricultural setting where you have cattle or pigs or any other mass-raised livestock animal producing a tremendous amount of waste in a very small space. This waste is then concentrated, water is added, and the naturally-occurring bacteria go to work. Assuming that air is blocked off from this chemical fermentation, this process releases methane gas.

Methane gas is very volatile. It causes nasty explosions but if channeled properly, it can produce light, it can produce electricity. It’s an amazing naturally-recurring resource from waste. Why not use the biomass bio-feeder energy production system that’s been pioneered in the agricultural context for human beings?

If there’s any one activity that human beings are master of, it is waste. We have to produce waste. By simply tapping a fairly small proportion of the total waste we produce every single day, we can get rid of a large chunk of our dependence on fossil fuel or even renewable energy. Why? We are already producing waste. Might as well tap into it. Might as well get the most benefit from it. Waste is not going to go away anytime soon and that is its most promising aspect.

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