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Also known as: Biomass Plant and System Operator.
A biomass plant technician is someone who is employed by a company that produces renewable energy from plant matter or animal matter. The biomass material that is created from plant matter can either be used directly or converted into biofuel. Examples of plant matter used in this process include branches that have fallen off trees, dead trees, wood chips, tree stumps and yard clippings. Some biomass plants grow their own plants to convert into biofuel, including hemp, corn, willow, sugarcane and eucalyptus.
Biomass plant technicians have a variety of responsibilities during this complicated process. However, the technicians most important daily responsibility is to ensure safety by controlling and monitoring the production of these alternative energy sources.
A biomass plant technician controls and adjusts the production of biofuels and is responsible for performing routine maintenance to the mechanical and electrical equipment used in production. Other responsibilities can include calculating, measuring, loading, mixing and processing refined feedstock. This is done by mixing additives in the fermentation process. They calculate and load biomass feedback for power generation, and often report on the quality of the feedstock, making reports on the daily data like meter readings. An important aspect of this job is to keep and maintain records. The types of records that these technicians keep include records of plant maintenance, safety inspections, and repairs that need to be made or have been made.
Biomass plant technicians operate equipment to heat biomass and are responsible for the start, stop, and regulation of all equipment. Power plants are under strict regulations, therefore the biomass plant technician must ensure compliance with safety regulations. During routine inspections, biomass plant technicians inspect test results, make any needed adjustments or repairs to specialized equipment, check all electrical components of the equipment, and record all pneumatic instrument readings that are used to show productivity. Biomass plant technicians are trained to troubleshoot most problems, and to recognize problems that need to be outsourced to professional repairmen.
With only a few exceptions, biomass plant technicians work in biomass plants, and will work in a small team, usually under the supervision of a biologist. Since the hours of a biomass plant technician are generally regular working hours, it is possible for biomass plant technicians to continue their education while working. This is ideal for anyone who would like to work on a graduate degree in biology to further their career.
There is no set standard educational requirement in order to become a biomass plant technician. However, there are associate's or bachelor's degrees available in colleges and universities that one can take in the sciences, or related fields. Typically, a biomass plant technician gains experience through on-the-job training, regardless of their formal education. A more extensive training program is needed for those with only a high school diploma, and they would typically need to work under the supervision of a more experienced technician.
A biomass plant technician needs critical thinking skills, observational skills, writing skills, analytical skills, listening skills and technical skills. These are all important, as it is essential that a technician in this occupation can keep records that are precise and correct and be able to draw conclusions from research using sound reasoning.