Biomass is a renewable energy source from living or recently living organisms. It is a traditional source of fuel and energy that modern technology is making ever more viable as an alternative to fossil fuels.
It is a renewable source of energy not only because it comes from the sun, but also because biomass can re-grow over a short period of time. Through the process of photosynthesis, chlorophyll in plants captures energy from the sun and converts carbon dioxide from the air and water in the ground into carbohydrates.
When these carbohydrates are burned, they turn back into carbon dioxide and water, and release the energy they captured from the sun. In this way, Biomass functions as a natural battery for storing solar energy.
Biomass can come from forest residues, such as dead trees and branches, wood chips and even municipal solid waste or other biological material. It can be used as a solid fuel, or converted into liquid or gaseous forms for the production of electric power, heat, chemicals or fuels. By integrating a variety of Biomass conversion processes, all of these products can be made in one facility called a biorefinery.
Globally, Biomass is the dominant source of renewable energy. Biomass accounts for approximately 12% of the world’s energy consumption, which equals 80% of the annual global production of renewable energy.