Biomass gasification converts biomass, which includes many agricultural residues (such as corn stover, wood waste, wheat straw), into an energy-rich vapor called "Producer Gas" that can be burned much like natural gas. By heating biomass with very little oxygen, a solid (such as corn stover) can be converted into a gas composed of mostly carbon monoxide and hydrogen. When this combination is mixed with oxygen, it burns to yield a high amount of energy.
These producer gases can be used in a variety of applications including fuel for internal combustion engines, direct heating, and in production of the chemical fuel methanol. The char and ash can often be used as a fertilizer.
At UMM, the producer gas is intended to be used in three different ways:
The intention is to use biomass gasification in a multi-faceted renewable energy effort -- not just for its most obvious use (heating).