The Biomass and Bioenergy Relationship
Biomass has the potential to transform the U.S. energy supply in a renewable and sustainable way well into the foreseeable future.
Most of the world’s energy comes from burning fossil fuels like petroleum, coal, and natural gas. These fuels provide the energy we need today, but developing sustainable alternatives is the key to the future.
Although biomass use ranks well below petroleum, natural gas, and coal in usage, it has historically surpassed hydroelectric and other renewable sources of energy.
A variety of biomass feedstocks are currently used to generate electricity and produce heat and liquid transportation fuels. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), biomass contributes nearly 3.9 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and accounts for more than four percent of total U.S. primary energy consumption today (EIA, 2010a).
It is estimated that 100,000 chemicals form the basis for most everyday products. All of these are derived from seven core chemicals, which are in turn largely derived from crude oil and other non-renewable sources. Biomass can be used to create these chemicals instead, at a lower cost to manufacturers and the environment.
With integrated solutions for the production of energy and fuels from biomass, SG Preston is working to accelerate the industrial scale commercialization of bioenergy products in markets around the world.
Useful, renewable energy produced from organic matter through the conversion of the complex carbohydrates in organic matter to energy. This energy may either be used directly as a fuel, processed into liquids and gases, or be a residual of processing and conversion.
Fuels made from biomass resources or their processing and conversion derivatives. Biofuels currently include renewable diesel, renewable jet fuel, ethanol, biodiesel, and methanol.
Any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis, including agricultural crops and trees, wood and wood residues, plants (including aquatic plants), grasses, animal manure, municipal residues, and other residue materials. Biomass is generally produced in a sustainable manner from water and carbon dioxide by photosynthesis.
The use of biomass feedstock to produce electric power or heat through direct combustion of the feedstock, through gasification and then combustion of the resultant gas, or through other thermal conversion processes. Power is generated with engines, turbines, fuel cells, or other equipment.
A facility that processes and converts biomass into value-added products. These products can range from biomaterials to fuels, such as ethanol or important feedstocks for the production of chemicals and other materials. Biorefineries can be based on a number of processing platforms using mechanical, thermal, chemical, and biochemical processes.
A product used as the basis for manufacture of another product.