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Technology and Research

Direct combustion of biomass ranges from burning wood in fireplaces and stoves to burning dandified biomass to yield process heat or steam, and/ or electric power generation. Direct combustion is the simplest biomass technology and may be very economical if the biomass resource is nearby. Cogeneration concerns the sequential generation of heat or steam and electricity or mechanical energy using a single heat source. Biomass powered furnaces, boilers, or engines can cogenerate electricity for on-site use or sale to a utility. Electric power generators can use the heat they cogenerate for on-site process heat. Fuel saving is the major incentive for the use of cogeneration.

Major Biomass Resources


Input Energy Products
Wood, straw, dandified biomass, municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, sawmill waste Heat, steam, electricity

University Research

Jackson State University – Research focus: production of bioethanol from non-food resources like corn stalks and woody biomass. This university released a textbook Energy Resources, Utilization, and Technologies, which provides an introduction to energy topics related to solar, wind, biomass, and other forms of energy production, as well as the application of nanotechnology to clean energy.

Mississippi State University – Research focus: sustainable energy, including conversion of pyrolysis oils and synthesis gas into hydrocarbons, economic analysis of biofuel production, reducing energy intensity, and distributed electric power generation with heat recovery. Fundamental to these goals is The Energy Institute, which is composed of various research organizations such as the Institute for Clean Technology (ICET), the Micro-Cooling Heating and Power group, Save Energy Now, the Southeast Clean Energy Application Center (CEAC), and the Sustainable Energy Research Center (SERC). MSU has also been influential in the field by designing a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu to be a series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle fueled by E85 or electricity in the EcoCAR.

University of Mississippi – Research focus: responses to the effect of climate change. This is accomplished through on-campus groups like the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Group (SEERG) and through the use of solar arrays on campus.

University of Southern Mississippi – Research focus: possibilities of polymer-based organic photovoltaic materials. Organic solar cells provide ease of storage and mobility, opening up possibilities for military applications. Research at this university also includes investigating agriculturally and biologically based feedstock.