Why you Should Become Part of the Next Biomass Energy Generation17 Nov, 20239 min
In an era where the global pursuit of sustainable renewable energy solutions is more critica...
In an era where the global pursuit of sustainable renewable energy solutions is more critical than ever, biomass energy emerges as a beacon of hope to combat climate change and meet the 2050 net-zero targets. It represents an ancient yet innovative approach to harnessing the power of organic matter for electricity, heat, and biofuels. Despite employing 3.5 million people in recent years, due to a talent shortage, there is still a desperate need for bright minds to transition into bioenergy.
Accounting for 55% of all renewable energy and over 6% of the global energy supply, becoming part of the next biomass energy generation could see you help with the continuation of bioenergy's significant impact on the planet's fight against climate change.
We'll delve into the intricate world of biomass renewable energy, exploring how it works, its advantages, and the diverse range of biomass energy jobs awaiting those who wish to be part of a transformative industry. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand why you should become part of the next biomass energy generation and how it is not just a job or a career choice but a commitment to shaping a greener, more sustainable future for our planet.
In this guide, we will explore:
- How does biomass energy work?
- What are the advantages of biomass energy jobs?
- What biomass jobs could you apply for?
How does biomass energy work?
Biomass energy is generated by transforming organic matter, such as animals, plants and their waste products, into electricity, heat, and biofuels. The energy generated is one of the oldest forms of power - humans have been burning materials such as wood for cooking and heating for thousands of years. Today, biomass renewable energy is used to generate electricity in power plants, to produce heat in homes and businesses whilst also producing biofuels for transportation.
There are a few common processes to convert biomass into usable energy sources. These processes include direct combustion, thermochemical conversion, and biological conversion.
Arguably, the most widely used method of producing biomass energy is through the process of direct combustion. Here, biomass is burned directly in a boiler, which creates high-pressure steam. The steam is then used to rotate numerous turbines that drive a generator, which produces biomass energy. This energy can be used to power homes and businesses or generate electricity to power industrial processes.
Another way of generating bioenergy is through thermochemical conversion under processes such as pyrolysis and gasification. These two processes break down biomass into solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels, which can be burned to produce electricity and heat or used to make other products, such as biofuels and bioproducts.
Starting with gasification, this is a process that takes solid biomass materials and exposes them to extreme temperatures with limited oxygen. This is done to create synthesis gas, otherwise known as syngas, which is a combination of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Once burned in a conventional boiler, the gas can be turned into valuable electricity.
Pyrolysis takes on a similar approach to gasification but instead uses different operating conditions. With pyrolysis, biomass is exposed to less extreme temperatures and zero oxygen to create crude bio-oil. The crude bio-oil generated can be a substitute for diesel and other fuel oils used in engines, furnaces and turbines.
One final way of producing biomass energy is through biological conversion, which involves converting microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and algae into biofuels and other products. Two common biological conversion processes can be used to produce biomass energy: anaerobic fermentation and anaerobic digestion.
Anaerobic fermentation is the process in which microorganisms convert sugars into products, such as ethanol and biodiesel. Fermentation is used to produce a variety of biofuels, including ethanol from corn, biodiesel from soybeans and biobutanol from sugarcane.
Anaerobic digestion involves using microorganisms to break down organic matter, such as sewage, in tanks known as digesters that are free of oxygen. The microorganisms decompose the organic matter to produce biogas, otherwise referred to as biomethane. Like the other processes we’ve discussed, this biogas can be used to generate renewable electricity, heat homes and businesses, or power vehicles.
You could be involved in these processes by applying for biomass energy jobs. But why should you? What are the advantages of biomass energy jobs?
What are the advantages of biomass energy jobs?
There are many advantages of biomass energy which make careers in the industry worthwhile, rewarding and fulfilling. We’ll explore these advantages, from the fact that bioenergy is renewable, carbon-neutral, reliable and readily available to helping to reduce landfill waste and combat climate change. These advantages are a significant reason why so many passionate people explore biomass jobs.
Biomass energy is renewable
One of the most significant advantages of biomass energy and a key reason why engineers embark on biomass careers is that it’s a renewable source of energy. Biomass energy is considered renewable as the organic matter used to create it is forever replenishable. Materials, such as various forms of human, animal, and plant waste, are continuously produced, meaning the resources used to create bioenergy will never be depleted as long as plants grow on this planet.
Unlike fossil fuels, which are finite materials such as coal and gas that will one day run out, biomaterials show no danger of going anywhere. Not only is this beneficial for the world’s aim of finding sustainable solutions to power the planet, but these types of advantages of biomass energy can benefit your career within the sector.
With a constant need for renewable solutions and the fact that bioenergy will be around throughout our lifetime and beyond, biomass jobs are not only in continuous demand but are also a secure career choice.
Biomass energy is carbon-neutral
Next on our list of advantages of biomass energy and why you should consider a role within this niche area of renewables is that bioenergy is carbon-neutral. As you know, carbon that is produced by fossil fuels has an adverse impact on the planet. Biomass, on the other hand, is considered part of the natural carbon cycle.
Although carbon dioxide is technically released into the atmosphere in the process of creating biomass energy, it’s the same amount of CO2 that plants absorb throughout their lifecycle. So, no new CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere when biomass is burned. However, the same cannot be said for fossil fuels, which continuously release new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
A career in biomass means you’ll be contributing to carbon-neutral efforts and, therefore, positively impacting the planet.
Biomass energy is reliable and readily available
Another one of the top advantages of biomass energy is that it’s reliable and readily available. Wherever there is organic waste on the planet, be it human, animal or plant, biomass can be sourced.
Unlike fossil fuels and other energy sources that will either become depleted or produce intermittent energy, the abundance of biomass means that if we manage our supply of these materials, we should never come across challenges that prevent us from producing bioenergy. Again, this emphasises the point that biomass energy jobs are here to stay and are a viable long-term career option from practically anywhere in the world - the opportunities are plentiful.
Biomass energy reduces landfill waste
Landfill waste contributes to around 11% of the world’s methane emissions, a number forecasted to rise 70% by 2050 due to the expected rise in the global population.
However, as biomass energy production relies on organic matter, landfill sites are the perfect place to find the materials needed to create bioenergy. Bioenergy can reduce waste and emissions such as methane and CO2 from landfills and generate a renewable energy solution that greatly supports climate change efforts.
Biomass renewable energy can also save the need to find additional land to store waste, the transportation required to move waste to landfills and the resources needed to dispose of the waste. All these factors have a negative effect on the planet but can be reduced by using bioenergy.
For an additional perspective, waste-to-energy plants in the US alone can reduce the amount of waste by nearly 87%. Some believe these plants can reduce the volume of waste by up to 90%.
Biomass careers help combat climate change
Ultimately, one of the biggest advantages of biomass energy jobs is that it allows you to contribute to an industry at the forefront of combating climate change. As mentioned, bioenergy makes up 55% of all sources of renewable energy and over 6% of the world’s energy supply.
As the world continues its objectives of reaching the 2050 net zero targets and conquering climate change, bioenergy is undoubtedly in the mix as a contributing factor towards the energy transition. Careers in biomass energy are an excellent way to help move the world closer to these goals and shift our attention away from the fossil fuels that are harming the planet we live on.
If you want to help combat climate change, biomass careers could be the route you’re looking for. But what types of biomass jobs are available, and how can you land a role within this niche?
What biomass jobs could you apply for?
From biomass engineering jobs to biomass sales jobs, you can find your ideal role for the top biomass companies in the world across the various aspects of the bioenergy lifecycle. For those thinking about pursuing careers in biomass, here are the roles you can expect to find.
Biomass engineering jobs
Biomass engineering jobs involve developing, implementing, and maintaining biomass systems and equipment. As a biomass engineer, you will work to create new and efficient ways to convert biomass into forms of energy, such as heat and electricity, for commercial use.
Here are some of the specific tasks that accompany biomass engineering jobs:
- Design and develop new biomass systems and equipment, such as biomass boilers, gasifiers, and fermenters
- Improve the efficiency and performance of existing biomass systems
- Troubleshoot and repair biomass systems
- Research new biomass technologies and applications.
- Work with other biomass engineers and scientists to develop and implement future biomass projects
Biomass scientist jobs
A biomass scientist will dedicate their efforts to studying the effects of biomass and conduct research to find innovative ways to convert biomass into various forms of efficient and sustainable energy.
Below are some of the specific tasks that a biomass scientist may perform:
- Research the properties of biomass and how it can be converted into energy
- Develop new biomass conversion technologies
- Study the environmental impacts of biomass production and conversion
- Work with industry partners to develop and commercialise new biomass energy products and technologies
- Educate the public about biomass energy and its benefits
Biomass plant operator jobs
The role of a biomass plant operator is to ensure the safety and efficiency of the waste-to-energy plant operations or other biomass conversion facilities. As a biomass plant operator, you will monitor and control the plant's equipment, including boilers, turbines, and generators. You will also collect data and prepare reports on the plant's performance.
Here are some of the specific tasks that a biomass plant operator may perform:
- Monitor and control the plant's equipment to ensure that it is operating safely and efficiently
- Collect data on the plant's performance and prepare reports
- Troubleshoot and repair equipment problems
- Follow safety procedures and regulations
- Work with other plant personnel to maintain and operate the plant
Biomass sales jobs
Biomass sales representatives are a clear example of how you don't necessarily need a technical background to make an impact on renewable energy. You will be expected to have a strong understanding of biomass technology and the biomass market and build relationships with customers. Biomass sales jobs may also require you to be involved in developing new biomass products and services.
Discover some of the specific tasks that a biomass sales representative may perform:
- Identify and qualify potential customers
- Develop and deliver sales presentations
- Negotiate and close sales contracts
- Build and maintain relationships with customers
- Provide technical support to customers
- Keep up-to-date on the latest biomass technologies and market trends
Biomass sales representatives play an essential role in promoting and adopting biomass energy and educating customers about the benefits of biomass renewable energy.
Biomass technician jobs
Professionals who embark on biomass technician jobs manage the day-to-day operation and maintenance of biomass power plants and other biomass conversion facilities. Similarly to plant operators, biomass technicians are essential in ensuring biomass plants operate safely and efficiently.
Below are some of the specific tasks that a biomass technician may perform:
- Operate and monitor biomass equipment, such as boilers, turbines, and generators
- Collect and analyse data on plant performance
- Troubleshoot and repair equipment problems
- Perform routine maintenance tasks
- Follow safety procedures and regulations
- Work with other plant personnel to maintain and operate the plant
All these biomass jobs play a vital role in developing renewable energy sources and help mitigate the effects of climate change and transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels.
Become part of the biomass energy generation
Becoming part of the biomass energy industry offers a multitude of compelling reasons why you should consider a career in this field. We’ve discussed how bioenergy works, revealing the diverse and versatile methods of converting organic matter into usable energy sources. From direct combustion to thermochemical and biological conversion, these processes provide a wide array of opportunities within the biomass energy sector.
We also explored the advantages of biomass energy jobs, from how it’s a renewable resource that’s a carbon-neutral, reliable and readily available energy source that also helps reduce landfill waste and combat climate change by efficiently utilising organic materials and minimising harmful emissions.
Embarking on biomass jobs is a stable and secure career choice. Moreover, biomass renewable energy offers an array of local job opportunities. It also contributes significantly to global renewable energy goals whilst playing a pivotal role in achieving a sustainable future for the planet.
If you aspire to make a meaningful contribution to combating climate change whilst pursuing a fulfilling career, biomass energy jobs can offer you this clear path. These roles span from biomass engineering and scientific research to plant operation, sales, and technical maintenance. Each position contributes to developing renewable energy sources and helps the world transition away from fossil fuels.
Kickstarting a career in biomass typically requires a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, chemical engineering or a related field. Other routes into the industry can be obtained through various courses, apprenticeships and networking.
With the renewable energy industry experiencing an ongoing skills shortage, we are continuously on the lookout for talented individuals with transitional skills such as project management, analytical and problem-solving to more technical, scientific and engineering skills. There’s no time like the present if you’re considering transitioning into renewable energy and becoming part of the future of biomass energy generation, and we’re here to help you.
If you want to explore other jobs within the renewables space, read our guide on the top 5 most searched alternative and renewable energy jobs.
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