Biomass is a carbon neutral fuel: the cycle of harvest and combustion produces a small fraction of the Carbon emissions of fossil fuels. In many cases the only carbon footprint is due to the use of fossil fuels in transportation, and in the fabrication of machinery and equipment. 
Biomass is the world’s cheapest and most efficient battery for energy storage. Biomass can be sourced on an indefinite basis, contributing to strong security of supply. The use of biomass fuel provides an economic incentive to manage woodland. Managed woodlands are significantly more productive, trap more CO2 and produce less methane (formed on decomposition of plant matter). Managed woodlands also contribute to improved biodiversity. Managed forests are harvested to remove no more than the “annual increment”, i.e. the new growth. Biomass residues, arisings, co-products and waste not used for energy, or some other application, will usually rot. This will generate CO2 and produce methane (CH4), a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than CO2.
Biomass accounted for about 10% of global primary energy supply (an estimated 56.6 EJ). The “modern biomass” share included approximately 13 EJ to supply heat in the building and industry sectors: an estimated 5 EJ converted to produce around 116 billion litres of biofuels (assuming 60% conversion efficiency of the original biomass), and a similar amount used to generate an estimated 405 TWh of electricity (assuming 30% conversion efficiency).
- Source: Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, REN21. -


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