Biomass is defined as the total organic stock of our planet and can be used for energy purposes.
In Greece, the exploitable biomass energy appears in the following types:
- Agricultural residues: residues from agriculture harvesting or processing
- Virgin wood, from forestry, arboricultural activities or from wood processing
- Energy crops: high yield crops grown specifically for energy applications
- Livestock waste (animal excrement, offal etc.)
- Agro-waste and waste from food industries (mills, dairies, etc.)
- Industrial waste and co-products from manufacturing and industrial processes
Biomass can be used for energy needs (heat, cooling, electricity etc.) by direct combustion or by conversion to gas liquid and/or solid fuels via thermochemical and biochemical processes.
Direct combustion of biomass for heat production is the simplest way for energy exploitation. New biomass utilization technologies have developed and that in our days constitutes a reliable and competitive choice.
Besides the known firewood, the use of biomass is usually by burning wood chips (wood chips) or pellets in modern boilers.
The biomass gasification is a unique technology that converts any organic material into energy without burning it. Essentially it is a partial oxidation process whereby carbon source is broken down into mix of gases. The oxidizer may be also air. As a result it may be used to be burned for heat or electricity generation
Since biomass is a domestic energy source, utilization in to energy contributes significantly to reducing the dependence on imported fuels, in the improvement of trade balance of energy supply insuring and saving foreign exchange.
Protection and improvement of the environment because biomass fuels produce virtually no sulfur emissions.
The energy use of biomass in an area increases employment in rural areas through the use of alternative crops (various kinds rape, sorghum, reed) creating alternative markets for traditional crops (sunflower, etc.) and containment of population to their homes, thereby contributing to socio-economic development of the region.