Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power.
Some examples of materials that make up biomass fuels are scrap lumber, forest debris, crops, manure and some types of waste residues.
With a constant supply of waste – from construction and demolition activities, to wood not used in papermaking, to municipal solid waste – green energy production can continue indefinitely.
Biomass is a renewable source of fuel to produce energy because waste residues will always exist – in terms of scrap wood, mill residuals and forest resources.
Properly managed forests will always have more trees, and we will always have crops and the residual biological matter from those crops.
Biomass power is carbon neutral electricity generated from this renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left as fodder for forest fires.
When burned, the energy in biomass is released as heat. If you have a fireplace, you already are participating in the use of biomass as the wood you burn in it is a biomass fuel.
In biomass power plants, wood waste or other waste is burned to produce steam that runs a turbine to make electricity, or that provides heat to industries and homes.
Fortunately, new technologies – including pollution controls and combustion engineering – have advanced to the point that any emissions from burning biomass in industrial facilities are generally less than emissions produced when using fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.