Biomass, in the broadest meaning of the term, includes any material derived from living organisms. More specifically, biomass for energy purposes includes any kind of material that can be used for the production of solid, liquid, and/or gas fuels. In practice, there are two types of biomass: firstly, residue types (any kind of plant residues, animal wastes and the organic part of municipal waste) and secondly, biomass which is produced from dedicated energy crops.
The main applications for biomass fuel are:
- Greenhouse heating: In areas of Greece where there are large quantities of biomass available, biomass is used as a fuel in suitably modified boilers for greenhouse heating.
- Heating buildings with biomass fuel in individual/central boilers: In certain areas of Greece, individual/central boilers using olive pits are used to heat buildings.
- Production of energy in agricultural industries: Biomass for energy production is used by agricultural industries where biomass is produced in significant quantities as a residue or byproduct of the production process and which have large heat requirements. Ginning mills, mills producing refined olive oil from the second pressing, rice mills, as well as small canning plants burn their residues (residues from cotton ginning, olive pits, husks and seeds, respectively) to cover their heating needs and/or part of their electricity requirements.
- Energy production in wood working industries: Residues from woodworking industries (sawdust, powder, shavings, etc) are used for heat in their production processes as well as for heating their buildings.
- District heating: Supply of space heating as well as hot water for a complex of buildings, a residential area, a village or town from a centralized heat production plant. The heat is transported through a network of pipes from the station to the buildings to be heated.