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department of energy

Biomass: The Unsustainable Energy Source

- by Atheo, Aletho News
 
biomass logging in frisco, coloradoThe promotional material from Big Green Energy, aka Biomass Gas & Electric, presents biomass as "clean, renewable energy," sustainable and green. The US Department of Energy uses the terms "clean and renewable" when introducing visitors at its website to the topic.
 
But is it accurate to describe the repeated removal of biomass from agricultural or forested lands as sustainable? A quick review of some basics on the role of organic matter in soils belies the claim.
 
To support healthy plant life, soil must contain organic matter, plants don’t thrive on minerals and photosynthesis alone. As organic matter breaks down in soil nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur are released. Organic matter is the main source of energy (food) for microorganisms. A higher level of microbial activity at a plant’s root zone increases the rate of nutrient transfer to the plant. As the organic matter decreases in soil so does this biochemical activity. Without organic matter, soil biochemical activity would nearly stop.

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