What is Biomass?

Biomass is a quite general term for organic matter derived from living, or recently living organisms. Biomass can be used as a source of energy and it most often refers to plants or plant-based materials that are not used for food or feed. As a renewable carbon based material, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel, biopolymer or other bioproducts like biocosmetics and biofertilizers. Conversion of biomass to biofuel can be achieved by different methods which are broadly classified into: thermal, chemical, and biochemical methods.

Bioenergy refers to the technical systems through which biomass is produced or collected, converted and used as an energy source. A wide variety  of conversion routes can be distinguished that produce a variety of  energy carriers either in a solid, liquid or gaseous form. These energy carriers address all types of energy markets: heat, electricity and transportation.

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The target  of 16 Gt CO2 emission established for 2050 will require a 42 Gt CO2 annual emissions reduction by 2050 through CO2-price and strong support policies. Total renewables contribution to the 2°C reduction is estimated to be 21%. Biomass is the only renewable energy source that can make a contribution in all sectors, providing around 10% of total CO2 emissions reduction!

To date, the international community supports the valorisation of residual biomass sources, including biowaste, sludges and agro-forestry residues as sustainable renewable material  to be upgraded into high value products or bioenergy towards a sustainable bioeconomy sector development.