Biomass can be used as a source of energy input for electricity generation, provision of heat and in the transport sector.
The biomass itself is derived from three principal sources: forestry, agricultural products and biogenic waste. These areas encompass a wide range of feedstocks. In general forestry products consist of wood, bark, branches and stumps, agricultural products consist of oil and sugar containing plants, whilst biogenic waste is derived from the agricultural, commercial and household sectors. These sources of biomass exist in three forms: solid (e.g. plants and wood), gaseous (e.g. from bio-waste) and liquid (oils form crops or biofuels produced from lignocellulosic matter).
Biomass can be converted into useful energy (heat or electricity) or energy carriers by both thermochemical and biochemical conversion technologies.
The EU countries have to meet by 2020 a target of 20% renewable resources in the energy supply and 10% renewable resources in energy in the transport sector. Bioenergy is a recognised solution to the UK Government's stated objectives in complying with both EU landfill targets and de-carbonising the UK electricity market and is expected to account for 56% of the renewable energy supply in the EU by 2020. Source: http://www.biotechnologyforbiofuels.com/content/5/1/25