About bioenergy

Bioenergy (or biomass energy) provides heat, electricity and fuel for transport from solid biofuels (such as wood chips, wood pellets or organic waste), liquids (such as biodiesel from tallow or used cooking oil) or gas (such as those produced in waste water or sewage treatment plants).

Bioenergy and biofuels are derived from biomass or organic waste. These may be from forestry and wood processing, energy crops, food processing, municipal solid and liquid waste or agricultural residues.

All biomass can be a feedstock for the production of energy. Often the biomass will require pretreatment before it can be used as a fuel or as a feedstock for the production of biofuels. The pretreatment can itself result in co-products that are valuable.

Biomass pretreatment is an enabling technology for all biomass-based technologies. They are critical for the preparation and pre-processing of whole biomass before it is suitable for use as a biofuel for combustion, or their chemical or fermentation-based transformation into final products.  Pretreatment technologies allow valuable chemical intermediates contained within biomass to be accessed from the notoriously recalcitrant biomass feedstocks used in industrial biotechnology, and are a major part of the cost of processing biomass.

Wood from forestry, processing or urban arboriculture must be dried and often graded to make it suitable as a fuel for combustion in a wood energy facility.

Municipal solid waste can be a readiliy available source of biomass but requires extensive separation and pretreatment before it can be used as a fuel for combustion or as a feedstock for the production of liquid biofuels.

Municipal sewage treatment can produce collectable biogas which can be used as a fuel for the production of heat, electricity or use as a vehicle fuel.


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