What is Bioenergy?
Bioenergy is a type of renewable energy produced from the utilization of organic and industrial materials which resulted from a biological or mechanical process, usually from the organic material of living organisms, or their residues.
Its best known forms are: Biofuels: Biodiesel, Bioethanol Alcohol and Biogas and Biomass.
Biofuels: are obtained from vegetal or animal biomass, it is renewable, and can replace fossil fuels obtained from petroleum. For its production, agricultural crops are used such as corn and cassava, or oleaginous plants such as soy, sunflower or palm. Some forest species, like eucalyptus and pines, are usable as wel.
The use of biofuels constitutes a closed carbon cycle. Using biofuels means a reduction of the CO2 sent to the atmosphere, as part of this amount of gases was absorbed by the plants used to produce it during its growth. During combustion, biofuels release a similar amount of CO2 than the one released by conventional fuels.
Biofuels are often mixed with other fuels in different proportions, 5%, 10%, or more, for its use in transportation.
- Biodiesel: is an alternative liquid biofuel, produced from renewable and domestic resources such as vegetable oils, or animal fats, of first or second generation (with or without previous use). It does not contain petroleum, it is biodegradable, renewable and non-toxic (free from sulphide and potentially carcinogenic aromatic components).
- Bioethanol: also called ethanol from biomass, is the first product obtained from the fermentation and distillation of starch (sugar) existing in organic matter (biomass), previously extracted by enzymatic processes. It is extracted from starch and cereals (wheat, corn, rye, yucca, potato, rice) and sugar (cane molasses, beet molasses, syrup, fructose, whey).
- Biogas: also known as biomethane, is the gaseous product from the anaerobic decay (decay without oxygen) of the organic matter.
Biomass: was the first energy resource known to humanity. The biomass from wood, agricultural residues and manure is still the main resource of energy in non-industrialized countries. Biomass, as an energy resource, can be classified in natural, residual and energy crops:
- Natural Biomass: produced in nature without human interference.
- Residual Biomass: is the sub product or residue generated in agricultural activities (pruning, stubble, etc.) silviculture and stockbreeding, residues from agricultural industry and wood industry (sawmills, paper factories, furniture, etc.) as well as residues from treatment and recycling of oils.
- Energy Crops: are those which are specifically intended for the production of biomass.