Biomass energy is a catch-all term for energy which is generated by burning organic matter (mostly wood). While this technology is still polluting, it is not releasing gasses into the atmosphere which cannot be reabsorbed in a short time span. When you are burning wood, you are releasing the compounds found in the tree, which can be re-grown in a relatively short period of time.
Wood is not the only source of biomass fuel, though it is the most commonly used source. There are many different plant species and sources for the wood that is used to generate biomass power. Not only can trees be used, but other plants can be used such as bamboo, switchgrass, hemp, but even by-products such as oils and saps from the trees and plants.
Because some food crops can also be used as a fuel source, there is a direct competition for resources when it comes to production. Generally, fuel can be sold at higher prices than food, so more land is dedicated to the fuel production rather than food production. Using the waste products of food production as a biofuel is a good compromise and is seen more frequently today.
Other forms of biofuel include methane and ethane which can be produced in landfills from waste, but also as agricultural waste. Even algae have energy producing qualities, and might prove to be a valuable source of biofuels in the future.
Geography and a country’s economy greatly influence the use of biofuels, and in the list below you will see that the largest individual plants, with the exception of one plant, are located in Europe. Europe is a leading region in climate policy and environmentally conscious energy production, and it offers the resources and development to easily deploy these sources.
The Top Capacity BioMass Power Plants in the World:
Alholmens Kraft, Finland
Maasvlakte 3, Netherlands
Atikokan Generating Station, Canada