There are a number of processes that can be used to recover energy from biomass fuels (liquid biofuels not included)
- Combustion: Biomass (e.g. wood chips or wood pellets) can be burned to provide process and/or space heating. This process can take place in small domestic stoves or boilers. The combustion of biomass can also be used to raise steam to drive engines/turbines which are coupled to generators producing electricity. This process is then called Biomass-Combined Heat and Power (Biomass-CHP)
- Anaerobic Digestion (AD): Biomass (e.g. animal manure) can be transformed to biogas by anaerobic digestion and the biogas, which consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide, can be used to fuel a gas engine or gas turbine, or burned in a boiler to provide heat or to raise steam.
Other technologies for the exploitation of bioenergy include gasification and pyrolysis but these are not as commercially developed as combustion, Biomass-CHP and Anaerobic Digestion.