HomearrowEnergyarrowBiofuel Energy

A Layperson's View of Future Technology and Society

divider line

Future Technology

Future of

Biomass Energy

divider line
Biomass energy

Biomass Power

Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms, such as wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Biomass is commonly plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce heat. For example, forest residues (such as dead trees, branches and tree stumps), yard clippings and wood chips may be used as biofuel. However, biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material such as fossil fuel which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.

Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plant, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil). The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect the processing of the raw material.

Biomass sources

Biomass energy is derived from three distinct energy sources: wood, waste, and alcohol fuels. Wood energy is derived both from direct use of harvested wood as a fuel and from wood waste streams. The largest source of energy from wood is pulping liquor or “black liquor,” a waste product from processes of the pulp, paper and paperboard industry. Waste energy is the second-largest source of biomass energy. The main contributors of waste energy are municipal solid waste (MSW), manufacturing waste, and landfill gas. Biomass alcohol fuel, or ethanol, is derived almost exclusively from corn. Its principal use is as an oxygenate in gasoline.

Biomass can be converted to other usable forms of energy like methane gas or transportation fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Methane gas is the main ingredient of natural gas. Smelly stuff, like rotting garbage, and agricultural and human waste, release methane gas - also called "landfill gas" or "biogas." Crops like corn and sugar cane can be fermented to produce the transportation fuel, ethanol. Biodiesel, another transportation fuel, can be produced from left-over food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.

Source: wikipedia

Biomass Energy Articles, Blogs and Web Sites

All Links open in a new window. Bold = Recommended

Biomass Energy Articles
Title Source Date
Algae to crude oil: Million-year natural process takes minutes in the lab PNNL 01/14
Bacteria--Energy Producers of the Future? -- Science Nation NSF video 09/13
Biofuels NSF video 03/13
Harnessing Plant-Invading Fungi for Fuel NSF 01/13
Fuel From Waste, Poised at a Milestone The New York Times 11/12
Microbes for biofuel: a cleaner way to unlock their energy Arizona State University 10/10
Giant Inflatable Airship Powered by Algae Alternative Energy 06/10
Potato Batteries May Power The Future FOX LA 06/10
Energy of the future? It’s green and slimy San Diego Union-Tribune 06/10
Analyzing Biomass The Columbian 05/10
Pentagon focused on developing alternative energy Reuters 05/10
Algae as biofuel still rough around the edges Science News 01/10
Is Algae-to-Energy Sustainable? RenewableEnergyWorld 04/09
Algae: 'The ultimate in renewable energy' CNN 04/08
Pond-Powered Biofuels- Turning Algae into America's New Energy PopSci 03/07


Biomass Energy Web Sites and Blogs
Title Description
Biomass Energy Biomass Energy
Biomass Energy California Energy Commission
Biomass Energy Basics NREL
Biomass Program U.S. Department of Energy
Biomass Technology How biomass Energy Works
Biomass – the growing energy resource Australian Foundation for Science
Oilgae Algae energy
OriginOil Algae energy


Article Sources
Image NREL
divider line


Many of the articles found on this web site are from a blogger that couldn't tell you the difference between hydrochloric and high colonic. We try our very best to provide you with useful, accurate information, but we don't always get it right. Please read our full disclaimer before quoting us at work, school or world conferences.