What is biomass energy?

Biomass energy is the use of organic material like plants and wood to generate energy.

What is biomass? Put simply, anything that grows – biological matter.

Biomass energy is a way of turning this biological fuel – usually plants – into electricity.

Because plants are used in the process, biomass is a renewable form of energy. However, it is not zero-carbon because burning biomass releases carbon dioxide (and potentially other gases and particulates) into the atmosphere.

Depending on the fuel source and technology used, biomass generation can be a low-carbon option and thus play a part in transitioning to sustainable energy.

Wood, grass clippings, plants, paper and food scraps are all good examples of biomass energy sources. Sugar, corn and other crops can also be used to create fuels. Another issue is that using these materials can be expensive in some parts of the world, and theorists argue about the sustainability of growing crops for fuel not food. 

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