The European Commission (EC), Directorate General XII, sees biomass as an important renewable energy source and hopes it will provide up to 9 percent of the total energy consumption in the EU by 2010, according to its recently published overview of EC-funded studies in the field of biomass conversion technologies. The book focuses on achievements and prospects for heat and power generation. It is aimed to give an overview of the state-of the-art and future prospects in technology and implementation issues for energy production through thermonuclear conversion of solid biomass in the EU. In tandem with this, it considers the way and extent to which EC-funded research and technological development activities have contributed to these developments. The work identifies technical barriers and obstacles that impede the development of the biomass market within EU Member States. The study considers a number of different biomass fuels, and looks at different techniques for employing biomass. It identifies the techniques of greatest current interest as: - Direct combustion in small and large boilers (for heat, power and combined heat and power (CHP) production); - Advanced thermal conversion of biomass into a secondary fuel by thermal gasification and pyrolisis, followed by use of the fuel in an engine or turbine; - Biological conversion into methane by anaerobic bacterial digestion and use of the bio-gas in engines and boilers; - Chemical or biochemical conversion of organic materials into hydrogen, methanol, ethanol or diesel fuel. The publication also identifies a number of factors that affect the cost of bioenergy, such as: - Specifications and standards for biomass fuels; - Fuel pre-treatment; - Feeding of fuel, especially in pressurized systems; - Storage of fuel; - Ash removal and handling. In summary, the book contains a set of guidelines for the development of the conversion of biomass into useful energy.