As a member of Canada's Energy BOT Squad here's what you need to know.
I'm super organic. But even if I've been known to fell a few trees, biomass means more than just wood. Canadians get bioenergy from all kinds of organic matter, including waste products and crops grown specifically for energy. And whatever the source, I'll be there to make bioenergy.
It's no surprise that biomass is still an important source of heat for some Canadians. Add in modern energy technologies like gasification and you've got a hot product.
Biofuels are already an important part of Canada's transportation systems, with ethanol and biodiesel plants found around the country. In fact, at 1,376 million litres, Canada produces enough ethanol every year to fill more than 550 Olympic-sized pools.
Because biomass is good at keeping things hot, it's also used to keep turbines turning at thermal electric facilities. There are some 33 biomass-powered electricity plants across Canada, which means that I'm keeping things less rustic for the rest of you.
Canada has about 10 per cent of the world's forests, and huge areas of farmland capable of growing more sources of biomass. When it comes to finding biomass feedstocks, I'm definitely living in the right place.
I used to be a bit of a solitary BOT. Now I'm getting out more. Because biomass can include all kinds of fuel sources — pulp and paper by-products, landfill gas and energy crops — renewable fuel production is found around the country.
How does it work?
Burning biomass is just one way of getting its energy. Converting biomass into fuel can happen either by fermenting organic material, which makes ethanol, or by combining vegetable oils with fatty acids, alcohol and a catalyzing agent to create biodiesel.
I'm a tough one; tough enough to squeeze the waste products from lumber mills into tightly packed wood pellets. These little pellets burn intensely, providing an excellent fuel source (not to mention a neat party trick.)
Because the planet's alive, biomass exists all around the world, and it's getting used too. Many countries, including Canada, have biofuel targets that require them to include a certain percentage of biofuel in gasoline.
Next: Your next target: FuelcellBOT. Here's what we already know: he's already on the highway, the only highway he can drive on.