A renewable energy source.
Bioenergy is the term which defines the systems to generate energy from biomass.
Biomass is a wide-ranging term which is used to refer to the organic material on the Earth's surface. With regards to energetic purposes, the most suitable biomass is of agricultural or forestal origin. Agricultural residues (straw, pomace, prunings from fruit plants and trees), forestry residue, residue from the wood industry (sawdust, chippings) and energetic crop residue (thistle, sunflower, paulownia), amongst others.
Biomass is used in different ways: generation of heat, cold, electricity and transport. In order to facilitate its use, it is transformed into solid biofuel (pellets, bricks or chips), liquid biofuel (biodiesel or bioethanol) or gaseous biofuel (biogas).
In many regards, biomass can be considered a form of stored solar energy, since plants use this energy to capture CO2 and water through photosynthesis. Moreover, it is a non-fossil fuel, neutral from the point of view of the carbon cycle (natural cycle of the carbon between the earth and the air).
The CO2 emissions which are produced do not, as they are from carbon taken from the atmosphere in the same biological cycle, alter the balance of the concentration of atmospheric carbon, and hence do not increase the greenhouse effect. Its use contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, whenever it replaces a fossil fuel.
The benefits deriving from the consumption of bioenergy are:
- Bioenergy is a renewable energy with a guaranteed future, and is environmentally friendly since it respects the natural balance of the atmosphere and thus contributes to the fulfilment of the Kyoto Protocol.
- It is produced locally, leading to the creation of employment in the countryside, thus helping to keep communities in these areas together.
- It allows us to reduce our dependency on fossil resources, since the Iberian peninsular has sufficient raw materials to produce it.
- The production of Biomass leads to cleaner forests, thus helping to reduce the risk of forest fires.
- Biomass opens up new horizons for agriculture. The energetic crops used in the production of biofuels constitute a future alternative in our spheres.
- It reduces the greenhouse effect since during combustion only the amount of CO2 captured by the plant during growth is released.
In short, Bioenergy combines the values of modern energy: advanced, convenient, cheaper and environmentally friendly.
(*) Sources: IEA Bioenergy (International Energy Agency), Greenpeace, Medioambiente Geoscopio