become a biomass plant technician

What does a Biomass Plant Technician do?

A biomass plant technician works to maintain the equipment at a biomass plant. A biomass power plant will produce electricity by burning biomass such as wood, waste and/or sewage, or even plants. These technicians may also have other titles, some of which include auxiliary operator, biomass facilitator, and control room operator.

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How to Become a Biomass Plant Technician

become a biomass plant technician

According to O*NET OnLine, over 60% of the biomass plant technicians surveyed held a high school diploma, and close to 25% had earned a post-secondary certification after high school. Less than 10% had taken some college classes. Though a college degree is not necessary, you must be mechanically skilled. You would also need to be computer savvy in a variety of programs. During your on-the-job training, you would also learn the safety processes you must follow and what actions to take in case of an emergency. It may be helpful to read blueprints, have math skills, be computer, savvy, and have technical abilities.

There are some certifications you can earn as well, though they are not required to work as a biomass plant technician. However, obtaining a certification can allow you to have a specialized area giving you an edge over others with potential employers. An example may include a biomass plant technician working with Nuclear Plants; it may help earn a certificate through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Or it could be helpful to take a Quality Control training. Whatever manufacturing company you pick, see if there are any specialized certificates that associate with their industry, this can be helpful and give that edge you are looking for when applying for a position.

Job Description of a Biomass Plant Technician

Biomass plant technicians may operate equipment at a power plant, such as boilers, generators, and gasification equipment. They are also responsible for inspecting equipment to ensure it is functioning safely and report any issues they find. Pending their specific duties and experience, a technician may have the knowledge to maintain or fix equipment. Other daily responsibilities would include ensuring their work area is kept clean and compliant with safety regulations. They may also inspect or measure the biomass material the plant is converting to energy.

Other responsibilities can include but are not limited to, recording data, keeping logs of repairs, calculating, measuring, loading, mixing, and processing materials. They conduct inspections throughout the day, analyze results, change or repair equipment when needed, look at mechanical parts, troubleshoot issues, and fix it when possible. At times there may need additional support or call outside contractors if it is beyond their scope of skills. 

Biomass plant technicians work primarily in manufacturing plants and usually report to a biofuels production manager. Your daily tasks can be very physical and technical. You are on your feet and typically operate large machines, ensure compliance with all manufacturing regulations, and work in small teams. Related career fields include: energy auditor, nuclear technician, and geothermal technician.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

Wageningen University and Research offers a free course on the Transition from Fossil Resources to Biomass on EdX.org (opens in a new tab). This course provides a basic overview of consumer science, business, logistics, supply chain, and economic principles that are essential for a successful transition from fossil resources to renewable biomass resources in a bio-based economy.

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Article Citations

National Center for O*NET Development. 51-8099.03. O*NET OnLine.