The production of biomass is just the process of plants growing and collection of human and animal excrement. However, the growth of biomass is depending on the environmental conditions as well as on the attitude of human towards sustainable use of biomass.
Clearing forests for biomass use is the most effective industrial way, but it is not considering the negative effects on the environment, such as e.g.:
- natural reforestation might take decades
- the ground water table will deplete
- surface run-off and soil erosion will increase
- the micro-climate will change towards warmer and dryer.
The sustainable use of biomass includes the following considerations:
- use biomass only as much as it is not effecting the natural functionality of a system (e.g. a forest)
- return energy back to the system (e.g. through bio-fertiliser)
- process biomass for best utilisation (e.g. through fermentising)
One of the most effective biomass processers are with regard to IWM and in particular IWM in rural areas biogas plants. Their advantages are manifold:
- collection of biomass: human and animal excrement, kitchen bio-waste, etc. is leading to less environmental pollution
- the biogas production is leading to:
1) energy for cooking (gas)
2) light (gas)
3) solid fertiliser (sludge from the fermentiser)
4) liquid fertiliser
5) treated water
- biogas production is leading to higher yields through the utilisation of the produced fertiliser
- biogas production can lead to income generation.