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Bioenergy

Bioenergy is sourced from organic biomass found naturally or processed into bioenergy derivatives such as biofuel. Bioenergy is a carbon-neutral, renewable energy source known for its sustainability and is currently the 2nd largest renewable energy source in Canada.

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Because it is not impacted by variations in weather, bioenergy can provide a consistent and stable supply of electricity 24 hours per day.

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Basics of Bioenergy

Bioenergy is one of several forms of renewable energy that helps fulfill the electricity needs of businesses and households across Canada. As an energy source, it is generated from organic elements that were derived from both plants & animals and is otherwise known as biomass. Bioenergy is typically used to produce transportation fuels, heating and electricity amongst others. The use of bioenergy has exploded in recent years, as bioenergy is now Canada’s second-largest source of renewable energy.

How much energy can be generated by Bioenergy?

Bioenergy power plants may produce anywhere between 2 and 1000 megawatts of energy. Canada had over 70 biomass power generation stations by the end of 2014. Approximately two-thirds of this power is used by businesses like pulp and paper mills.

Canada is a global leader in the area of bioenergy. The Atikokan Generating Station, located in northwest Ontario, is North America’s largest biomass-powered power plant. Once a coal-burning power plant, it is exclusively powered by biomass (wood chips) after being modified in 2014. By burning wood products, the plant can consistently produce 205 megawatts of powerenough electricity to power over 70,000 households.

What are the costs of Bioenergy?

Due to its production methods and transportation costs, bioenergy faces challenges when assessing its economic viability when compared with other renewable and non-renewable sources of energy. As it stands, it remains difficult to transport bioenergy across long distances. Since bioenergy has a lower energy density compared coal or petroleum, it takes more energy to produce a single unit of power. In addition, vehicles are the primary means of transportation used to carry biofuel, which is more expensive than locomotives or piping.

What are the advantages of Bioenergy?

Bioenergy plants, unlike other forms of renewable energy, can produce electric continuously. Bioenergy production is dependent on sporadic sources such as wind or sunlight—which results in consistent, reliable energy. Bioenergy experiences minimal greenhouse gas production and is free of carbon. Additionally, the use of bioenergy aids in stabilization of soils, the improvement of soil fertility, and the reduction of erosion.

Renewable

Bioenergy produced from biomass is a renewable source of clean energy

Carbon Neutral

Achieves a carbon balance between release and absorbtion

Reliability

Can be used to generate power instantaneously unlike other sources
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    Commonly asked questions about Bioenergy

    Bioenergy FAQs

    Bioenergy refers to energy produced from biomass. Biomass consists of organic materials including wood, energy crops and organic wastes. Energy produced from biomass is clean, renewable and can be used to produce fuels, heat and electricity.
    Thermal generation is the process in which biomass undergoes combustion that releases heat and energy. This energy release is typically used to heat water which, in turn, creates steam powerful enough to rotate a turbine resulting in electricity production.
    Transportation of bioenergy results in costs for bioenergy that exceed that of other renewable energy sources. Biomass has a lower energy density when compared to non-renewable sources such as coal or petroleum, which presents a challenge for the economic viability of biofuels.
    In Canada, biomass is typically used to produce energy by burning (also called thermal conversion) these organic elements and capturing the energy they release. Biomass can also be processed to create heating oils and biofuels, among others.
    Biofuels are transportation fuels derived from organic materials including plants and animal waste. These fuels are usually combined with petroleum fuels or used independently.
    Bioenergy is considered a carbon-neutral source of energy and is both sustainable and reliable for many uses. The carbon material released during the burning biomass or energy capture process approximately equals the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the plant during their lifetime.