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What is Biomass?
The organic material obtained from the plants is called as biomass. The plants absorb energy from the sun by a process called photosynthesis and this is stored within the plants. The animals and humans beings eat plants, hence the energy absorbed by the plants get stored within them also.
We do not consider the living plants as the biomass. The garbage left over by the plants in the form of dead trees, broken branches of the trees, the wasted crops, fallen leaves, wood chips etc are considered as the biomass. You can also consider bark, saw dust from the lumber mills, livestock manure etc also as the biomass.
The other garbage and waste materials that are directly and indirectly made from the plants can also be considered to be the biomass materials. For instance the paper is made from the plants. Even in this age of computers tons paper goes wasted everyday in private and government organizations. Lots of paper is also wasted after personal use by people every day. The wasted paper is also considered to be the biomass.
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Biomass as Energy Source
When you try to burn the biomass, it will catch fire instantly or after sometime and it releases lots of heat. This clearly indicates that biomass is the source of energy. When burnt, the chemical energy within the biomass is converted into the heat energy. Thus the wasted garbage of the plants can be called as the biomass energy source. The heat produced by the biomass can be used for various applications like heating water, generating steam, cooking food, as household fuel etc.
Biomass can also be converted directly to methane gas, which is the major component of the natural gas. At present natural gas is being used extensively as fuel for the cars and other vehicles. Rotten garbage and human waste can also be used to produce the methane gas, which is also called as landfill gas or biogas. Biomass can also be converted into ethanol and biodiesel, which can directly be used as the alternative fuels for the vehicles.
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Biomass Energy Source as the Renewable Energy Source
The biomass energy sources are also called as the renewable source of energy. This is because, as long as the plant life is there, there will be lots of waste generated by them, hence biomass energy source is the unending source of energy.