Author: Siobhan McClelland, Canadian Geographic
Publish Date: Oct 11, 2013 Last Update: Sep 19, 2018
Sources of biomass are usually far from power grids and cities, making it difficult for the average person to use biomass-generated electricity. Several district heating systems in Canada use biomass — sometimes waste from nearby sawmills — to generate heat and/or electricity for buildings in a community.
Biomass products, in solid, liquid or gas forms, need to be transported to customers by truck, rail or pipeline. However, individuals burning wood, a type of biomass, can use the energy for heating and cooking on the spot.
In district heating systems, biomass is converted to heat and/or electricity through a variety of methods and sent to buildings through a network of underground insulated pipes.
Ethanol is mostly used as a fuel additive, mixed with gasoline to reduce air emissions. Biodiesel can also be combined with traditional diesel fuel to reduce emissions, or can be used in its pure form to fuel diesel engines.
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