Biomass Energy

NSPE Position Statement No. 1761
Approved: April 2011

NSPE supports the continued development of biomass energy as part of a diversified national energy portfolio. Producing energy from biomass decreases America's reliance on fossil fuels, saving them for transportation and electric-power generation, and reduces air pollution.
Biofuel is a solid, liquid, or gas fuel that is produced from organic materials. It can be made directly from plants or indirectly from waste (industrial, commercial, domestic, or agricultural). There are two ways to manufacture biofuels:

  • Burning dry organic waste (such as household, industrial, or agricultural waste or wood produced from fast-growing plants); and
  • Fermenting wet waste (such as animal waste) without oxygen to produce biogas or fermenting sugar cane or corn to produce alcohol and esters.

NSPE believes that there should be a positive net energy-gain from producing and using biomass energy. Fuels that require more energy to produce than can be recovered by their combustion should be used in moderation.
The United States should have a long-term goal of developing an economical means to convert biomass to clean-burning renewable fuels for use in transportation and electric-power generation. By reducing the process costs and improving the efficiency of the fuels produced, biofuels will become more economical.
NSPE supports establishing federal and state tax credits for the research and development of new and improved biomass production facilities.