Plants use photosynthesis to store solar energy in the form of chemical energy.The easiest way to release this energy is by burning the dried up plants. Solid biomass such as firewood or combustible field crops including dried manure is usually burnt to heat water and to drive turbines. Field crops may be grown specifically for combustion or may be for other purposes and the processed plant waste then used for combustion.Most sort of biomass including sugarcane residue, wheat chaff, corn cobs and other plant matter can be, and is, burnt quiet successfully. Currently biomass contributes 15% of total energy supply world wide.
A drawback is that all these biomass needs to go through some of these steps: It needs to be grown, collected, dried and fermeneted and burned. All of these steps require resources and an infrastructure.
Bio-fuel is any fuel that derives from biomass- recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts, such as manure from cows. Typically bio-fuel is burnt to release it's stored chemical energy. Biomass, can be directly used as fuel or to produce liquid biofuel. Agriculturally produced biomass fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol and bagasse(often byproduct of sugarcane cultivation) can be burnt in internal combustion engines or boilers.
Biogas can easily be produced from current waste streams,such as paper production, sugarcane production, sewage, animal waste and so forth. The various waste streams have to be slurred together and allowed to naturally ferment, producing 55% to 70% inflammable methane gas. Biogas production has the capacity to provide us with about half of our energy needs, either burned for electrical productions or piped into current gas line for use. This has to be done and made a priority. The payback period of biogas is around 2-3 years, rather in case of community and institutional Biogas plant is even less. Therefore biogas electrification at community level is required to be implemented.
(Useful for UPSC General Studies, APPSC Group 1 Group 2 , Mains Material, Paper 1, Paper 4 Section 1 Section 2 Section 3, ROLE AND IMPACT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDIA, GENERAL AWARENESS WITH THE MODERN TRENDS IN LIFE SCIENCES, DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENT PROBLEMS)