Biomass is a source of bioenergy, which is an energy product made from any organic material from plants or animals. These materials include agricultural and forestry residues, municipal solid wastes, industrial wastes, and terrestrial and aquatic crops grown solely for energy purposes. When the biomass is burned, the energy stored in the organic material is released as heat.
Wisconsin is home to a large, sustainable biomass resource that includes forest product industry residues and prairie grasses. Corn residue and energy crops provide additional biomass sources. Energy crops are raised specifically for the purpose of energy production in contrast to forest and crop residue, which is a by-product of a primary commodity that is utilized for another purpose. Potential forest residue biomass fuel sources include pulp and paper facilities, pellet mills, logging operations, milling and other wood manufacturers, and shipping firms that use wood pallets.
Biomass combustion systems are a sustainable carbon-neutral renewable resource that provides a low-cost fuel and supports local and regional economic development. Biomass combustion systems can replace conventional fossil-fuel heating boilers to produce heat or steam to power an electric generator. Systems that produce electricity and utilize waste heat to avoid fossil fuels are known as combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
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