Fun Fact:  According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration “About 80 percent of the wood and wood waste fuel used in the United States is consumed by industry, electric power producers, and commercial businesses. The rest of the wood and wood waste fuel consumed in the United States is used in homes for heating and cooking.”

What Does That Mean?

What we’re talking about is biomass.  Biomass is the mass of an organism – it is physical and tangible. Usually when people refer to biomass they are referring to plants like trees and tall grasses.

Now for the “Why Should I Care” part: biomass is a common word used when discussing renewable energy. Renewable energy is good because you can literally grow new energy (unlike fossil fuels..that doesn’t grow on trees). Also, it proves that nothing on a harvested tree goes to waste.


How is Biomass Created?
Biomass is created as an organism grows. It’s a natural process.

What is Done with Biomass?
It is collected from various sources and burned at power plants to convert the mass into energy.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that biomass contains stored energy in its physical material. Plants absorb energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. When biomass is burned, the stored energy is released as heat. The heat boils the water in the power plant and the steam turns the turbines that generate electricity. This is why there is a strong connection between biomass and energy.

Some farmers grow plants specifically for this purpose. Trees and sugarcane are popular crops because they can get more mass per acre than other plants. Biomass is also collected at landfills. The yard debris that we recycle is taken to the power plant to be converted to energy.

Fun Fact: The EPA, according to their website published in 2014, estimates waste-to-energy power plants generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes every year.

Five Benefits of Biomass

  1. It is a clean energy. When converted into energy, carbon emissions of biomass are carbon neutral. It is called carbon neutral because the biomass can only release the amount of carbon it absorbed in its life. Therefore it is considered a clean energy.
  2. It is renewable. Biomass can be farmed, recycled and farmed again.
  3. Biomass helps reduce the need for unclean energy sources. Millions of homes are powered each year by converting biomass to energy.
  4. Burning biomass also keeps the material out of our landfills.
  5. It can be repurposed. Some biomass is converted into small wooden pellets no thicker than a pencil. Those pellets are the fuel for many wooden stoves keeping people warm in the winter.

Overview of Biomass
Biomass is the mass of an organism. It is used to provide clean renewable energy to millions of homes. Biomass grows naturally and is cultivated by farmers for a high energy yield. There are lots of benefits of using biomass. It is a clean source of energy that does not add carbon to the atmosphere. It is a renewable source of energy. Converting the mass into energy reduces the amount of mass in landfills and biomass can be repurposed into products.