Like coal and petroleum, biomass is a form of stored solar energy. The energy of the sun is "captured" through the process of photosynthesis in growing plants. Like all methods used to generate energy, the combustion of biomass generates pollution as a by-product. One advantage of biofuel in comparison to most other fuel types is that the energy within the biomass can be stored for an indefinite amount of time without any danger.
Agricultural products specifically grown for use as biofuels include corn and soybeans, primarily in the United States, as well as flaxseed and rapeseed, primarily in Europe, and hemp is a growing crop around the world except for in America. Waste from industry, agriculture, forestry, and households can also be used to produce bioenergy; examples include straw, lumber, manure, sewage, garbage and food leftovers. Biomass used as fuel often consists of underutilized types, like chaff and animal waste. Much research is currently in progress into the utilization of microalgae as an energy source, with applications being developed for biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, methane, and even hydrogen. On the rise is use of hemp, although current politics restrains it. This new book presents the latest leading edge research in a field set to explode with growth.