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Biomass is defined as any substance of organic, vegetable or animal matrix, intended for energy purposes or for the production of agricultural soil improver, and represents a sophisticated form of solar energy storage.

In addition to the essences cultivated expressly for energy purposes, all the products of agricultural crops and forestry are therefore biomasses, including residues from agricultural and forestry processes, waste from agro-food products intended for human consumption or animal husbandry, residues, not chemically treated, of the wood and paper processing industry, all organic products deriving from the biological activity of animals and humans, such as those contained in urban waste (the "organic fraction" of waste).

In the most general sense, all the material of organic origin, both vegetable and animal, can therefore be considered "Biomass", but to better outline this sector, the three main supply chains that represent it can be considered: - Wood supply chain - agriculture - Waste and waste supply chain


To exemplify some types of biomass, among the most common, we can mention: Solid, liquid or gaseous fuels derived from these materials (directly or following transformation processes) are defined as "biofuels", while any form of energy obtained with biomass conversion processes is defined as "bio-energy".


The use of biomasses presents a great variability according to the types of materials available and, over time, many energy conversion technologies have been developed, some of which can be considered to have reached a level of development such as to allow their use on an industrial scale. others, on the other hand, more recent and very complex, require further experimentation in order to increase yields and reduce energy conversion costs.

The processes currently used are attributable to two categories: "thermochemical processes" and "biochemical processes", within which the technologies currently available are divided, among which - with the exception of direct combustion - all the others represent pre-treatments, aimed at to increase the thermal output, to fully exploit the available material, to improve the practicality of transport and use and the storage characteristics or to reduce residues after use.

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