Torrefaction of biomass, e.g., wood or grain, is a mild form of pyrolysis at temperatures typically between 200 and 320 °C. Torrefaction changes biomass properties to provide a much better fuel quality for combustion and gasification applications. Torrefaction leads to a dry product with no biological activity like rotting. Torrefaction combined with densification leads to a very energy-dense fuel carrier of 20 to 21 GJ/ton lower heating value (LHV). Torrefaction makes the material undergo Maillard reactions.
Biomass can be an important energy source. However, nature provides a large diversity of biomass with varying characteristics. To create highly efficient biomass-to-energy chains, torrefaction of biomass in combination with densification (pelletisation or briquetting) is a promising step to overcome logistic economics in large-scale sustainable energy solutions, i.e. make it easier to transport and store it. Pellets or briquets are lighter, drier and stable in storage as opposed to the biomass they are made of.
Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources. Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, manure, sugarcane, and many other byproducts from a variety of agricultural processes. By 2010, there was 35 GW (47,000,000 hp) of globally installed bioenergy capacity for electricity generation, of which 7 GW (9,400,000 hp) was in the United States.
In its most narrow sense it is a synonym to biofuel, which is fuel derived from biological sources. In its broader sense it includes biomass, the biological material used as a biofuel, as well as the social, economic, scientific and technical fields associated with using biological sources for energy. This is a common misconception, as bioenergy is the energy extracted from the biomass, as the biomass is the fuel and the bioenergy is the energy contained in the fuel
There is a slight tendency for the word bioenergy to be favoured in Europe compared with biofuel in America.