Greenleaf Power meets North America’s growing energy demands through the investment in, and development of, reliable green energy sources. Our goal is to provide carbon-neutral energy production that is free from the variability that affects many types of renewable energy. More »
Biomass is the generic term for biological material originating from once living plants or animals. Our facilities utilize plant-based biomass that is able to be burned from plants as a fuel source. These materials are typically residues from the various other activities. For example, tree branches remain after a tree trunk is harvested for timber. We coordinate to have this residual material collected, processed, and delivered to our facility, rather than allowing it to decompose in the forest. Similarly, many municipal governments trim trees in order to keep utility lines and roadways unobstructed; Greenleaf also utilizes this material as a fuel source. In more urban areas, clean wood resulting from construction and demolition material is sorted, processed, and transported to our facilities. Greenleaf Power also utilizes agricultural residuals ranging from tree stumps and branches to larger vines as well as corn and rice shucks that traditionally have been burned in the open fields. These fuels are typically processed (reduced to 1" to 6" pieces) before being transported to our facilities to allow for more efficient transportation, but in some cases the fuels are processed onsite.
Once at our facilities, these fuels are loaded into large boilers and combusted in tightly controlled settings. The heat generated from the combustion creates high pressure steam. This high pressure steam is routed into a turbine. The steam enters one end of the turbine at high pressure and exits the other end at low pressure thus causing the turbine to rotate. This process converts the potential energy in the steam into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is then converted into electrical energy by the generator. This electricity is then increased to a higher voltage in order to be more efficiently transported to where it is needed. In some cases, the power is sold to our customers (the utilities) at this point in time. In other cases, Greenleaf coordinates the transportation of this power at it is sold at a point farther from the facility.
Biomass power plants are one of the cleanest and most reliable ways to convert excess biomass material into energy. It is also one of the most environmentally beneficial; biomass energy plants have a net negative emission of greenhouse gases. This is possible because the alternatives for this biomass material, if not used in our facilities, emit substantially higher levels of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide as a result of their biodegradation in the landfills or in the forest, or from their open-burning in agricultural fields.
In addition, biomass plants reduce the amount of waste accumulating in landfills. Wood and agricultural waste that would traditionally be sent to landfills become the fuel source for our biomass plants.
National Biomass Industry
According to the Biomass Power Association, there are 80 biomass plants in 20 states that make up the $1 billion renewable energy industry. The industry created more than 14,000 jobs nationwide with the majority of the facilities located in rural communities.
Nationwide, the biomass power industry diverts more about 22 million tons of waste wood annually and reuses it to create power, generating roughly 15 million megawatt hours per year.