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What is Biomass?

Biomass refers to the carbon-based energy potential that can be used for energy production, including plant and animal wastes and residues.

 

With the "Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Resources for the Purpose of Electricity Generation" numbered 5346, provided that unless they are not imported; In addition to urban wastes, the resources obtained from agricultural and forest products, including vegetable oil wastes, agricultural harvest wastes, and by-products resulting from the processing of these products and waste tires, and industrial waste sludge and treatment sludge can be converted into energy under the name of biomass.

The biomass diversity used in energy production may vary depending on the own resources and priorities of the countries. It is possible to transform biomass into petroleum derivatives used for transportation fuels such as jet or automobile fuel.

Carbon- neutral Energy Production

In addition to providing their own energy, plants are also an environmentally friendly alternative energy source with the energy they store.  

In the process of photosynthesis, plant biomass converts the carbon dioxide (CO2) it takes from the environment into life energy, namely hydrocarbons, by synthesizing it with sunlight and chlorophyll.

 

Biomass energy is carbon neutral as the carbon dioxide produced when biomass is converted into energy with different technologies is equal to the carbon dioxide absorbed during the formation of biomass. For this reason, it is an important energy source in order to keep carbon dioxide emissions, which is the most important cause of climate change, under control.

Environmental Benefits of Biomass Use

  • A renewable energy source

  • An alternative to fossil fuels

  • Carbon- neutral

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Decreases environmental pollution by adding economic value to wastes.

  • Prevents stubble burning.

  • An organic raw material, by-product / waste / residual obtained after energy conversion is organic again and may be used as soil conditioner and fertilizer after certain procedures.

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Preventing Stubble Burning

  • Burning stubble results both the agricultural ecosystem and the natural ecosystem destruction. It is strictly prohibited by Turkish government, however, due to economic reasons, the agricultural producers may choose to burn the agricultural residues to clean up the area to prepare it for the new harvest season directly. In short term, it provides time and money save, but destroys the ecology in multiple ways. 

  • Especially the balance of Carbon (C) and Nitrogen (N) in the soil disappears and the fields become inefficient as a result of stubble burning.

  • The amount of organic matter decreases.

  • Microbiological activity regresses. Invertebrates disappear.

  • Soil water holding capacity and soil fertility decrease.

Sustainability of Biomass Use

Sustainability of biomass is only possible when plant residues are used correctly and efficiently. Mistakes in biomass applications in different countries have had negative environmental consequences. For this reason, biomass in Turkey should be based on sustainable basis, taking into account the food and feed priority of plant residues.

Repeatability of Biomass Projects

Biomass is a relatively new alternative energy source for Turkey. For this reason, transferring the experience of pilot projects and studies to new investors will ensure the continuity of the system.  

Investment incentives provided in Turkey with tried and proven practices abroad,  With guiding and supportive practices such as risk management tools, sectoral growth and  aimed at continuing development.

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Benefits of Biomass for Turkey

  • Additional income is provided to farmers after production.

  • Making laws and regulations for more sustainable agricultural residue management in the agricultural field;  reduce air pollution, air pollution-related diseases and greenhouse gases by reducing the burning of residues in the field. 

  • Regulations to determine the amount of biomass to be left in the soil for more sustainable agricultural residue management, the demand for fertilizers,  soil quality will be increased.

  • Improved management of agricultural residues,  eliminating the odor of rotting biomass in open areas and  It will now contribute to making the management more conscious.

  • The use of agricultural residues in industry and other sectors for heating and cooling will contribute to a decrease in fossil-based energy demand and thus to increase competitiveness and employment in the domestic and clean energy sector.

  • The development of new techniques and the development of technical equipment suppliers will accelerate energy efficiency solutions and advances in industrial production processes.

Image by Ankit Manoharan

Biomass energy is a fundamental sustainable energy type for today and the future, and it is an environmental alternative  to fossil fuels, and improves the circular economy in agricultural reasons once regulated sustainably.