This clip from Wikipedia explains the comment in the title. Today when we talk biomass in the biofuel context we might think of switchgrass grown for ethanol, saw milling waste or soya beans for biodiesel production – but in fact the wood fire was the first example of a biomass fuel and is still a very important fuel in developing countries.
from: WIKIPEDIA (click image for full story online)
This defines biomass as
Biomass refers to living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel or for industrial production. Most commonly, biomass refers to plant matter grown to generate electricity or produce biofuel, but it also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers, chemicals or heat. Biomass may also include biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic material which has been transformed by geological processes into substances such as coal or petroleum.
Two recent stories illustrate what is happening in this area.
This article considers biomass from recycled wood, processing co-products (palm kernel or distillers grains, for example), agricultural wastes (straw, chicken manure and so on) and energy crops.
It refers to announcements in recent months to develop more than 1,000MW of electricity generation from biomass. It also identifies increasing quantities of biomass being co-fired in large coal plants and used in industrial-sized operations. It expands on the activities of a number of companies.
from: BIOPACT (click image for full story online)
This is an amazing story of a €150 million project to produce enough electricity for 90,000 households, by burning chicken manure, that went online in the beginning of September.
The plant is owned and operated by utility company Delta, cooperative DET, ZLTO and Austrian Energy & Environment A.G. (a consortium including Siemens Nederland N.V.). It will use approximately 440,000 tons of chicken manure a year, roughly one third of the total amount produced in the Netherlands.
It is interesting that while producing electricity the project solves a number of problems from complaints by the UKto the smell produced when Holland spread manure on their fields, to the release of Methane and the high cost of alternate disposal.
The ash from the plant will be used in fertilisers. There are opportunities for the manure from the remainder of Holland’s chickens and from other countries of Europe.