Biomass

What is Biomass

Cells are basic building blocks of non-fossil biological material. (Source: © BillionPhotos.com / stock.adobe.com)

Cells are basic building blocks of non-fossil biological material.

Biomass is biologic non-fossil matter or the building material of all organisms; animals as well as plants. In the power industry the term biomass usually means plant material that is suitable for generation of electricity and heat.

The amount of energy conserved yearly in biomass is 5 times greater than the amount consumed (by our civilization) worldwide.

Even a pile of cow manure is a form of biomass. (Source: © Kondor83 / stock.adobe.com)
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Yellow fields of rapeseed — grown to be used as biomass. (Source: © Daniel Prudek / stock.adobe.com)
One of the most beautiful forms of biomass — a blooming meadow. (Source: © Stihl024 / stock.adobe.com)
The bodies of any animal is also biomass. (Source: © Duncan Noakes / stock.adobe.com)
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Video: Photosynthesis animated diagram

Origin of Biomass

The bonded chemical energy contained in biomass is in fact, conserved solar energy stored during the process of photosynthesis in the green parts of plants that contain chlorophyll. It is this carbon bond energy that can be used in power production.

In the process of photosynthesis, simple sugars are assembled from water, nutrients from the soil and airborne carbon dioxide. These are further processed into more complex sugars and finally proteins; the basic building blocks of living organisms. Since carbon, with its chemical bonds, is the basic building block of all living tissue, the energy stored in carbon compounds can later be utilized to generate power.

Chemical equation of photosynthesis:

6 CO2+12 H2O → (solar energy) → C6H1206 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O

 

Biomass categorization based on origin (Source: stock.adobe.com)

Biomass categorization based on origin

We can categorize biomass into three types according to their origin:

Phytomass

one-year and more-years in existing plants

Dendromass

forest wood mass
 

Zoomass

animal biomass
 

The conditions for growth of biomass are very favorable in rain forests — sufficient moisture and sunlight. (Source: © Ryo / stock.adobe.com)
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Phytomass comprises of complex hydrocarbons created in the process of photosynthesis. (Source: © sidorovstock / stock.adobe.com)
Fast-growing tree species in forest plantations are grown for energy purposes. (Source: © patm83 / stock.adobe.com)
Dendromass is biomass in the form of wood. (Source: © Olga Galushko / stock.adobe.com)
7 pictures