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How Biomass Works -- Article by Xcel Energy

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How Biomass Works -- Article by Xcel Energy

The energy from waste products – such as wood and agricultural waste and garbage – all can be used to produce electricity. Wood waste can be burned as is, or converted to a gas and burned in a boiler to produce heat for converting water to steam to run a generator. The same is true for garbage – it can be turned into refuse-derived fuel and burned in a power plant boiler. As garbage or animal waste decays in a landfill or agricultural operation, it produces methane gas, which can be used as a fuel, similar to natural gas, to produce electricity.


While using biomass to produce electricity provides a waste-management solution, it is generally done today on a smaller scale because it is costly and requires a plentiful, steady fuel source, sometimes more than a single waste stream can produce. We operate in several locations where waste wood is plentiful, and we are participating in test projects for growing biomass crops.

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