The biomass industry, in its infancy just a few short years ago, is projected to maintain a steady and constant growth rate until 2016, according to new research from Pike Research.

Pike predicts the industry, which had worldwide capital investment in infrastructure of $28.2 billion in 2010, will grow that investment to $33.7 billion by 2016.

“Biomass markets are dynamic and rapidly evolving,” said Pike Research president Clint Wheelock. “While research and development initiatives are very active worldwide, the biomass industry also has many proven technologies that can exploit existing feedstock sources. These include power generation from anaerobic digestion, rapid thermal processing, combustion and gasification, and methane gas capture from municipal waste, among others.”

Biomass is the leading source of renewable energy worldwide, according to Pike, and is used in a variety of products including fuels, plastics and chemicals.

Pike’s analysis indicates that the biofuels sector will continue to lag behind bioenergy and bioproducts until second- and third-generation cellulosic technologies are available on a commercial scale, which is estimated to be two to three years away. The biochemical and bioenergy sectors will progress much faster than biofuels during the firm’s five-year forecast period.

The report, “Biomass Markets and Technologies,” analyzes the global biomass market with a focus on power generation, biofuels, and bioproducts.

An executive summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.