Why is an understanding of biomass necessary?
All Earth's bioenergy originates from the sun. Only a small proportion of the Sun's energy incident on the Earth's surface is fixed by organic matter and stored.
This energy is recycled through a series of natural and chemical conversions. At some stage in the cycle we can intervene and use the bio-energy when it is optimally suited to act as a source of chemical energy and hence as a fuel
It is essential to understand the basics of cell biology, cell chemistry and cell metabolism in order to gain a deeper insight into the energy that is stored in biofuels. It is for this reason that the fundamentals of biochemistry are covered in the first parts of this unit. The last section covers the process of photosynthesis. This is the process whereby plants convert solar energy to chemical energy, which is stored as a carbohydrate, cellulose.
This unit consists of a series of compact study notes and self-test questions. You are recommended to study the unit in the following sequence: