There are a number of technological options available to make use of a wide variety of biomass types as a renewable energy source. Conversion technologies may release the energy directly, in the form of heat or electricity, or may convert it to another form, such as liquid biofuel or combustible biogas. While for some classes of biomass resource there may be a number of usage options, for others there may only one appropriate technology.
These are processes in which heat is the dominant mechanism to convert the biomass into another chemical form. The basic alternatives are separated principally by the extent to which the chemical reactions involved are allowed to proceed: Combustion, Torrefaction, Pyrolysis and Gasification.
There are a number of other less common, more experimental or proprietary thermal processes that may offer benefits such as hydrothermal upgrading (HTU) and hydroprocessing. Some have been developed for use on high moisture content biomass, including aqueous slurries, and allow them to be converted into more convenient forms.some of the Applications of thermal conversion are Combined heat and power (CHP) and Co-firing.