For energy purposes, the term Biomass refers to all organic materials that can be used directly as fuels or transformed into solid, liquid or gaseous fuels, representing a sophisticated form of solar energy storage.
Therefore, all products of agricultural crops, waste from agri-food products, untreated residues from wood and paper industries as well as all organic products derived from human and animal biological activity are considered biomass. Biomass in the form of plants, trees, grass, leaves, manure and animal waste can be a great source mainly for the production of alternative fuels that can be used to replace fossil fuels. Biomasses are particularly important in two different fields: the ecological and that of renewable energies, where they represent a source of energy of biotic origin.
Biomasses used to produce electricity are therefore waste materials that are converted by thermal, chemical or biochemical processes. When biomasses are burned they release heat which allows the evaporation of water in the thermodynamic circuit where it becomes steam and is channeled into pipes. In turn, steam operates turbines that produce electricity or heat to be used in domestic and industrial plants. Biomasses are therefore part of renewable sources because the CO2 emitted for energy production does not represent an increase in carbon dioxide present in the environment but is the same that plants have previously absorbed to develop and that at their death would return to the atmosphere through normal degradation processes of organic matter. The use of biomass therefore accelerates the return of CO2 into the atmosphere making it available again to plants.
Biomass energy allows us to exploit a renewable resource and does not contribute to global warming because it does not increase the concentration of carbon in the air. It is green energy that has the advantage of reducing our dependence on fossil sources for energy production, importing energy from other countries and encouraging the production of renewable energy Made in Italy. Moreover, not requiring particular technologies, they allow investment in a sector without a great expenditure of financial resources, as required by other renewable energies. However, we must not neglect the costs related to the treatment that biomass must undergo before being used.