Biomass was around before humans, so naturally human utilization of biomass for energy is almost as old as humans themselves. I like to start with this picture of a gas pump hostage situation because I think it captures our current addiction to carbon and the dual role bioenergy might play depending on what paths we choose. To appreciate where biomass utilization can improve things we must learn to see our carbon resources objectively, they all have strengths and weaknesses. So how did carbon become so important …. Bioenergy has been around for as long as humans have had fire. Biomass was the simplest source of combustible carbon we could get our hands on and once we learned how to ignite it the rest was history. Humans love burning carbon because we live in a world made of carbon surrounded by an atmosphere full of oxygen. The combination of carbon and oxygen is just too good to pass up – plentiful reactants, easy reaction to start, great heat production. Combustion was and still is the king of bioenergy conversions in efficiency, ease, and global utilization.
If you are interested in receiving the written slide notes for each lecture, please contact the USDA supported Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest project at; [email protected]
Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30407 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
This series contains 25 short lectures, each between 10 and 15 minutes long. The content in these lectures is flexible and can be used in a variety of ways to communicate bioenergy concepts to audiences from diverse backgrounds. An important objective of this series is to present facts about bioenergy and biofuels, and use them to explore misconceptions.