The use of biomass as a source of energy has been helping humankind since the beginning of our era, when people discovered how to use fire for their benefit . It consists on the use of matter coming from vegetal photosynthesis, that unleashes the biological chain. Plants, that contain chlorophyll, transform carbon dioxide and water into organic material with high energetic value through photosynthesis. This material can be transformed afterwards into thermal power, electricity or bio fuels. According to its origin, biomass can be divided into animal and vegetal, being the last one the one that has more uses nowadays.
The most relevant sources of biomass are the following:
In other latitudes there is research going on about the use of palm trees or fruits such as the jojoba.
Once biomass is obtained it can be transformed into energy trough several methods. The most common ones are the following:
Alcoholic fermentation: This process has different fermentation phases. Carbon accumulated in plants is transformed into alcohol according to the type of biomass. These processes have an energetic consumption that may not match renewable parameters. This way bio fuels such as bio ethanol or bio diesel are obtained.
The fuels obtained by these processes have many environmental advantages, the emission of sulphur to the atmosphere by combustion is scarce, they don’t free particles, ash production is reduced and they can be reused as compost or fertilizer.