Biofuel, Bioenergy and Biomass
Biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels, called "biofuels," It is a fuel that is produced through contemporary processes from biomass, rather than a fuel produced by the very slow geological processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil. There are various ways of making biofuels, but they generally use chemical reactions, fermentation, and heat to break down the starches, sugars, and other molecules in plants. The resulting products are then refined to produce a fuel that cars or other vehicles can use.
Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power. Some examples of materials that make up biomass fuels are:
- scrap lumber;
- forest debris;
- certain crops;
- manure; and
- some types of waste residues.
Biomass is a renewable source of fuel to produce energy because waste residues will always exist – in terms of scrap wood, mill residuals and forest resources; and properly managed forests will always have more trees, and we will always have crops and the residual biological matter from those crops.
Bioenergy is one of many diverse resources available to help meet our demand for energy. It is a form of renewable energy that is derived from recently living organic materials known as biomass, which can be used to produce transportation fuels, heat, electricity, and products.
Abundant and renewable bioenergy can contribute to a more secure, sustainable, and economically sound future by:
- Supplying domestic clean energy sources
- Reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil
- Generating U.S. jobs
- Revitalizing rural economies.