Biomass vs Biofuel vs Bioenergy vs Biogas: Differences, & Comparison

In the guide below, we briefly outline the differences and similarities between biomass vs biofuel vs bioenergy vs biogas.

We also indicate how they relate to one another.

 

Biomass

Biomass is organic material, and is considered to be ‘renewable’

It mainly comes from different types of plants, and also algae (although some reports indicate it can also come from animals)

Biomass is the material that all three of biofuel, bioenergy and biogas are derived from

A range of ‘bioproducts’ (commodities) are also derived from biomass

 

Biofuel

Biofuels are fuels derived from biomass

Biomass goes through a conversion process to become a refined biofuel product

Biofuels are commonly used for transportation in vehicles as fuel

Two common examples of biofuels are ethanol, and also biodiesel

 

Bioenergy (Biopower)

Bioenergy is also referred to as biopower

It is energy that is derived from biomass

Energy generation from biomass can produce heat, or electricity

There’s multiple ways to release the energy contained in bioenergy (which gets stored in biomass from the process of photosynthesis)

 

Biogas

Biogas is gas (mainly methane and carbon dixoide) captured from the anaerobic digestion of organic waste and organic matter

The gas is an energy source which can be used for heat or electricity (for use in engines, microturbines, and fuel cells)

But, there’s also liquid and solid components (called digestate) produced from the break down of organic matter (separate to the gas released) that can be used as a soil amendment

 

Biomass vs Bioenergy vs Biofuel vs Biogas – Similarities & Differences

Similarities

The similarities are that all three of bioenergy, biofuel and biogas are derived from biomass material

They are all considered to be ‘renewable’ in this regard too

 

Differences

The main differences are that:

– Biomass is the material used to produce the other three

i.e. these other three products are derived from biomass, and therefore rely on biomass

 

– Bioenergy, biofuels and biogas are all produced in different ways

As an example, biofuels require their own conversion process, whereas biogas is produced from anaerobic digestors

 

– Bioenergy, biofuels and biogas are used across different industries and for different applications

As an example, biofuels might be used much more heavily for transportation and vehicles, whilst bioenergy might mainly be used for heat or electricity generation 

 

Sources

1. Various ‘Better Meets Realty’ guides and associated sources

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