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Biomass



Biomass
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.65

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bagasse, Biogas, gasohol, methane, biofuels, methanol, burning, production, alcohol, biomass, source, benefits, sawdust, efficient, dioxide, carbon


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Biomass
By Patti Hutchison
  

1     What is biomass? It is a source of energy that has been used by humans since they existed. Biomass is actually energy from the earth. It comes from plants and animals. It can be used to fuel our bodies, our cars, and our computers.
 
2     The building blocks of biomass are sugars. You know that sugar gives you energy. These sugars can be used to produce other kinds of energy. But where does the sugar come from? Plants. Plants use carbon dioxide from the air, along with water and sunlight to produce sugar.
 
3     If we burn wood, the energy the tree captured from the sun is released. The burning also releases more carbon dioxide and water. These can be used to produce new biomass. Very efficient!
 
4     Wood is not the only source of biomass fuels. Others include dried field crops and dried waste from animals. Bagasse is made from dried sugar cane. It can be burned to produce power. This energy source supplies Hawaii with about ten percent of its electricity.
 
5     Biogas is made from plant and animal waste. The waste is converted into methane gas. The gas is separated from the solid waste. It can be used as a cooking fuel. The leftover solid waste can be used as fertilizer.

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