All organic materials convert energy from the sun to energy that is used for growth and rejuvenation, but when the biological matter has reached the end of it’s life, the energy becomes latent. A biomass power plant simply extracts that stored energy and converts it into usable energy again…an ideal recycling program. While woodchips are the most commonly used, anything that grows is biomass and has stored energy that can be extracted.
Economically, the best options for biomass conversion to energy are ones that have no other economic use. These include agricultural byproducts from corn, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, nuts and more. Scrap lumber, sawmill residues, paper making residues and many other industrial waste byproducts are also used as well as refuse derived biomass (RDB), urban green waste and forestry thinnings. All these resources and more are available today and for the long term in the never ending need for clean renewable energy.
Refuse Derived Biomass (RDB)
In any urban setting, RDB is a growing concern. Using this biomass for energy production can be a viable alternative to landfilling. Easily diverted RDB can be sorted and all carbon based residues can go directly into energy production. This extends the life of the landfill and captures methane gas before it escapes into the atmosphere. In any agricultural, forest, or industrial application biomass feedstocks that are normally hauled away or burned in place can now be converted to energy.