Biomass - the feedstock for all live
Biomass is the basis for the living nature. Until the beginning of the industrial age it also has been the source for energy generation. And our well-being as human race is depending on the availability of energy.
Like a predator the industrialized nations took advantage of the earths resources. Not thinking of the whole system and only concentrating on the direct advantages. The problems we are facing now in the field of energy are mainly connected to carbon in it's several forms of appearance.
Climate change is connected to the atmosphere's carbon concentration and developments that are set into motion already. We can not simply use batteries and believe that the problems are solved.
The term "organic" refers to the element "C". It is called organic, becaus organic life on our planet is based on the use of Carbon to build the crucial elements of life. We destroyed the equilibrium our planet has generated. We took the sequested organic material and moved it into our air in form of CO2.
Where to get H2?
Today many people think the main way of generating Hydrogen is by hydrolysis. That is, using electricity to produce Oxygen and Hydrogen out of water. But today there already is another way of generating Hydrogen.
The industiral sector already needs vast amounts of Hydrogen for it's processes. Generating Hydrogen out of electricity still is not very efficient and would be much to expensive. The normal way to generate Hydrogen today is by "Steam Reforming" Methane. That means we use natural gas as the feed material (Wikipedia: Hydrogen production).
The problem with this method is, of course, that C02 is set free, because natural gas is mainly Methan (CH4). The "C" part is set free into the atmosphere. There are two points to consider. First it would be great if the C-Part is hold back in the production But second if the feedstock would be biomass there only would be the Carbon in place that has been absorbed from the atmosphere before.
How to use biomass
One part is already a very mature process: The steam reforming that is used in the industry today. The second part before this is how to get Methan out of biomass. Do you konw about todays "bio gass" facilities. They let biomass decay and use the developing "bio gas". This gas consits like natural gas mainly of CH4. There also is a very old way to generate gas from wood (wood gas). So our technology clearly is able to produce hydrogen from bio mass.
But these two steps can be combined into one, much more effective step, where you do not need to let the biomass rot. It is possible to take biomass directly to split it up with heat and use the generated material, which then is in gas form and mainly also CH4. It is a combustion process in the absence of O2.
Biomass in context
Biomass is not the only way to generate Hydrogen. There also is electrolysis, of course. And the efficiency factor is improved by new technology. This is an ongoing process. Also there are methods like hydrogen producing algae, tests with producing hydrogen directly from sunlight (www.mpg.de/10863523/mpi-p_jb_20161 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photocatalytic_water_splitting) etc.
So production of Hydrogen on basis of biomass is a building block in the whole solar hydrogen economy. The potential is huge, because it is possible to use waste products as a feedstock and it not neccecarily has to be used material explicitly produced for this purpose.