Biomass Feedstock Characteristics

Bioenergy can be made from many different biomass feedstocks, or raw materials, ranging from trees and crops to yard and animal waste. Creating bioenergy begins with first acquiring the biomass, and then processing it for use in a bioenergy facility to produce heat and electricity (biopower) or liquid transportation fuels (biofuels). This publication describes the different biomass feedstocks that are available and their particular characteristics.

There are many biomass feedstocks choices available to produce electricity, heat, and transportation fuels. They are usually categorized as woody or non-woody biomass and are derived from a variety of sources. Woody biomass feedstocks can be collected from logging residues, urban and industrial residues, forest thinnings and short-rotation woody crops. Non-woody biomass feedstocks can originate from animal wastes, landfill gas, bioenergy crops, and agricultural and manufacturing residues. Most biomass feedstocks are delivered as a processed densified material in the form of chips, briquettes, bales, or pellets. The public and private sectors are constantly working on increasing efficiencies throughout the supply chain as well as improving bioenergy crop species to allow for biomass feedstocks to be more cost competitive with other energy sources such as fossil fuels. 

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