Biomass is plant material and this can be used as a source of energy. Its simplest use is burning for heating and cooking and is widely used throughout the world for this purpose. On a larger scale biomass can be used for the generation of electricity. Over the full cycle the use of biomass is “carbon neutral”, in that the carbon dioxide is released from and then recaptured into plant growth, provided the ecosystem from which the biomass is derived is maintained.
The most common form of biomass is wood. However, the burning of wood can release some noxious chemicals. Cooking with wood in poorly ventilated areas on open fires can cause health problems. Naval stores (creosote and ships tar) were traditionally produced from the distillation of pine.
To reap the benefits of biomass the management of the ecosystem is important and the conversion of the biomass to useable energy must also be controlled to recover the maximum energy and to minimise air pollution.
SHREWS ltd is working in several tropical countries to develop biomass supplies from sustainably managed forests for local use and export.
SHREWS Ltd is also working with technology suppliers to develop advanced technologies which achieve high levels of energy recovery as well as achieving very high quality of emissions.
Further details on both these initiatives is available from SHREWS Ltd.