Biomass is a renewable energy source, consisting of biological material from living things. Some examples are wood, waste hydrogen, and alcohol fuels. It generally involves growing plant mass to generate heat & electricity; as plants can generate electricity whilst still alive. However, the most common way of using biomass is burning wood from forests, wood chips and yard clippings. Other materials that can be burnt include plant or animal matter and general or biodegradable waste.
This method is an alternative to using fossil fuels. Although they would have once been biomass materials, they have not been part of the carbon cycle for many years; and therefore disturb the cycle when used.

Biomass technology looks at directly releasing the energy as heat or electricity or converting it into forms such as Liquid Biofuel or Combustible Biogas. The type of technology used depends on the source of the biomass.

Thermal Conversion uses heat to convert biomass into a different chemical form. Some of the more experimental thermal processes are Hydrothermal Upgrading (HTU) and Hydroprocessing.

Chemical Conversion uses chemical processes to convert biomass. These processes can provide a more convenient form of fuel; making it easier to transport, store & use.

Biochemical Conversion uses a microbial electrolysis cell to convert plant matter into hydrogen. This method mimics natural processes of breaking down biomass molecules, using micro-organisms such as bacteria enzymes. Conversion processes include anaerobic digestion, fermentation & composting.

Sheffield Road Flats

The 'Scissor Lift Tipping Trailer' is seen delivering wood chips through the hydraulic lids to the Sheffield Road Flats District Heating scheme fuel store. That was the first Biomass installation in Barnsley and has been operating since March 2005.

Smithies Lane Depot

The wood chip drying shed is located at Smithies Lane Depot and receives 'arboreal arisings' (essentially trees and large pruning's from street trees, parks and gardens) which are chipped and dried before burning on a 500kW biomass boiler which serves this facility.
Smithies Lane makes all its own fuel and burns its own fuel - it's a complete 'closed loop' system. It is also the model for a future 'Tree Station' which could be developed to serve Barnsley’s entire Biomass chip burning sites.