Plant waste can be turned into fuel.
In a flash
Biomass is organic matter – anything that is alive or was a short time ago - that can be used as an energy source. Examples of biomass include wood, crops, seaweed and animal waste. Biomass gets its energy from the sun and is a renewable energy source.
Burning animal and plant waste creates gases that can be used as fuel.
What is biomass?
Simply put, biomass is anything that is or once was alive (also known as 'organic matter'). So biomass can be wood from trees, plants such as crops and seaweed, or animal waste.
Where does biomass get its energy from?
All organic matter contains energy stored from the sun – this is where the energy in biomass comes from.
Plants store energy from the sun in their leaves, stems, fruit and roots. When humans eat food that comes from plants, we use the energy they contain to move and grow.
More biomass can be created for fuel by growing more plants and trees.
How is biomass used?
Burning biomass – such as wood and garbage – produces heat, which can be used in homes, for cooking, and for industrial purposes.
Burning biomass can also generate electricity. In 'waste-to-energy' plants, organic waste is burned to provide electricity – by removing the waste products, this also saves on landfill space. It's a biomass bonus!
Biomass can be used to produce a gas called methane, which is used in stoves and furnaces.
Biogas is a gas produced from burning waste products, which can be used to light homes and cook food.
Biomass can also be turned into fuels called ethanol and biodiesel, which can be used in many types of vehicles
The energy in organic matter comes from the sun.
What else is good about biomass?
One of the best things about biomass is the fact it's a renewable energy. That means we can always produce more of it by growing more plants and trees.
What do you mean?
Biomass is 'organic matter' – anything that is or was alive. This includes trees, plants, crops and animal waste.
Biomass energy comes from the sun.
Photosynthesis is the process used by plants to convert sunlight into the chemical energy they need to grow.
Renewable energy comes from a source that will never run out. Biomass energy is renewable because we can grow more plants to produce it.
Wood – such as logs, bark, chips and sawdust - accounts for around 46% of biomass energy.
Biodiesel fuels are now one of the fastest-growing alternative transportation fuels.
In China, farmers use all of their garbage – even animal waste – to make biogas, which they use to light their homes and cook their food.
Biomass is anything that is, or once was, alive. It contains energy from the sun and can be used to produce heat, electricity, gas and fuel.