What are the differences between biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts?

These terms refer to three generally different end uses of biomass based products. “Biofuel” is short for “biomass fuel,” a term used for liquid fuels produced from biomass (generally transportation fuels), such as ethanol, bio-oil, and biodiesel. “Biopower” refers to biomass-fueled power systems that generate electricity or industrial process heat and steam, such as combined heat and power (CHP) systems. “Bioproduct” is short for “biomass products” and can be used to describe a chemical, material, or other (non-energy) product such …

Why is there such an emphasis on power production from biomass?

Woody biomass is an abundant and readily available resource that historically has not been used much except by forest products manufacturers as an internal energy source at their facilities, although many such manufacturers have also been able to produce excess electric power for sale to the grid. Whereas commercial-scale production of transportation fuels is still in early stages of development, technologies are already well-developed for producing heat and electricity from biomass in firing or co-firing in boilers and in gasification …

Introduction to Biomass Combustion

Combustion of biomass used to heat greenhouses.

Fire, or combustion of biomass, is arguably the oldest known and most widely used controllable energy source on earth. In recent years, rising costs of fossil fuels and the development of advanced equipment have made biomass combustion an economical, efficient, and practical energy source.

Principles of Combustion

Combustion is familiar to all of us, but many do not realize that it is essentially a chemical reaction. In the process of combustion, two ingredients …

Using Combustion Heat for Energy

The end result of combustion is useful energy – typically in the form of heat, power, or both heat and power. This can be used to provide space heating for buildings, process heating for industrial needs, electricity for on-site use or sale to the grid, or the simultaneous generation of heat and electricity (so called “combined heat and power,” or CHP). Most commonly, the combustion heat is captured in the form of hot water, hot air or steam.

Most farms …

Biomass Feedstocks for Combustion

Thought about growing a biomass crop for combustion fuel on your farm? This article offers three questions farmers can ask to evaluate growing energy producing  combustion crops. It examines wood, woody crops and grasses in more detail.

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Switchgrass briquettes a combustion fuel. Photo: Daniel Ciolkosz, Extension Associate, Penn State.


Biomass Feedstocks and Energy Independence

A large increase of biofuel production is necessary to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard set in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). This article explores the feedstock portfolio required to do the job.

Switchgrass a source of biomass energy. Photo: Dennis Pennington, Bioenergy Educator, Michigan State University.


Energy Independence and Security Act

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 was …