Fire, undoubtedly the most important invention in human history, has been discovered thanks to the accidental combustion of wood. Fire has lightened, heated, protected and fed mankind for thousands of years. In few words, it has favoured the birth of civilization.
Wood, moreover, remained for many centuries the most used material, not only to light up the fire, but also as a construction material. The invention of the steam machine has allowed us, afterwards, to obtain mechanical energy from the combustion of wood, while until the 18th century wind and water were the only form of mechanical energy used, thanks to windmills.
With the Industrial Revolution, wood as a resource run short because of the massive deforestation done to produce energy. Only in the last decades it has been tried to innovate the exploiting of energy resources trying to find other renewable sources or less polluting to face the ever more increasing demand.
The concept of biomass has been introduced in the 20s of the 20th century. The oceanographer LEV. A. ZENKEVICH (1889-1970), and before him REINHARD DEMOLL (1882-1960), a German zoologist, have defined as biomass that mass that all the living organism of a specific area have in common.
Nowadays the national legislation, adopting the European one, defines biomass as: “the biodegradable part of the products, waste and residuals from agriculture (including vegetable and animal substance) and from forestry and connected industries, including fishing and aquaculture, verge mowing and pruning of cities green areas as well as the biodegradable part of the industrial and urban waste.