What is it?

The vegetation which covers our planet is a natural deposit of solar energy. The organic matter it is made of is called biomass. Biomass is produced through photosynthesis, during which, thanks to solar energy, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the water in the ground combine and produce sugars that are necessary for life. The solar energy that activated the photosynthesis is stored in the chemical bonds of these substances. Photosynthesis is very important because it feeds life on Earth and because it removes 2 x 1011 tons of carbon per year, with an energy content of about 70 billion TOE – tons of oil equivalent, i.e. ten times the annual world energy requirement.
When biomass is burnt, the oxygen in the atmosphere combines with the carbon contained in the biomass, carbon dioxide and water are released, and heat is produced. Carbon dioxide returns into the atmosphere and it becomes newly available to be included in the photosynthesis process, to produce new biomass. Biomass, therefore, is a renewable resource.
In the energy sector, the term “biomass” indicates various products, that are mostly of plant origin and in a small part of animal origin, which are utilized to produce energy: residues from agriculture and forests, waste from the wood industry such as wood shavings and sawdust, “energy crops” (i.e. plants that are specifically cultivated for energy purposes), waste products from farming industries, and agriculture and food residues (residues from crops for humans or animals, such as straw).

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From the Multimedia section

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    Number of bioenergy plants by region in Italy in 2016

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    Italy: bioenergy production by category in 2016

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    Italy: capacity of bioenergy plants by category (2016)

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    Italy: number of bioenergy plants by category in 2016

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    Italy: evolution of bioenergy plants

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    Ethanol and biodiesel global production

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    Power of bioenergy plants by region in Italy (2016)

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    Energy production from biomass

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    Sunflowers

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    Number of bioenergy plants by region in Italy in 2016

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    energy

    Italy: bioenergy production by category in 2016

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  • energy

    Italy: capacity of bioenergy plants by category (2016)

    Look

    energy

    Italy: number of bioenergy plants by category in 2016

    Look
  • energy

    Italy: evolution of bioenergy plants

    Look

    energy

    Ethanol and biodiesel global production

    Look
  • energy

    Number of bioenergy plants by region in Italy in 2016

    Look
  • energy

    Italy: bioenergy production by category in 2016

    Look
  • energy

    Italy: capacity of bioenergy plants by category (2016)

    Look

Facts

  • Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

    Phyto-depuration

    A very interesting project has been carried out by Lombardy region...

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

  • Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

    Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

    ITER fusion reactor

    The reactor that will be able to produce electronuclear energy without risk of explosion or radioactive waste...

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

  • 16 May 2011

    Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

    Phyto-depuration

    A very interesting project has been carried out by Lombardy region...

  • 2 March 2011

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    16 May 2011

    Hydrogen from the sugar cane

    The Centro di Ricerca Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (CIRPS) carried out a study in Peru...

  • 14 June 2011

    Some curiosities about methane hydrates

    The melting of the ice cells, not only brings about the release of methane gas, but it also produces another…

    2 March 2011

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • 16 May 2011

    Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

  • Phyto-depuration

    A very interesting project has been carried out by Lombardy region...

  • 2 March 2011

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…