A pile of organic material in a storage bin.

Biomass refers to any organic matter from plants or animals. It typically includes agricultural crops and residues, woody biomass from forest management and wood processing, waste from animal feeding operations, waste segregated from municipal wastes or from wastewater treatment processes, and terrestrial and aquatic energy crops grown solely for energy purposes. Examples of biomass and their uses for energy include:

  • Wood and wood processing wastes—burned to heat buildings, to produce process heat in industry, and to generate electricity
  • Agricultural crops and waste materials—burned as a fuel or converted to liquid biofuels
  • Food, yard, and wood waste in garbage—burned to generate electricity in power plants or converted to biogas in landfills
  • Animal manure and human sewage—converted to biogas, which can be burned as a fuel

Learn More

Missouri S&T has joined in a multi-university study to explore the potential for using algae to create biomass for fuel at a coal-fired power plant. Researchers with University of Missouri’s extension program also are developing fast-growing trees that could be harvested every two to three years for use as biomass. For more information, visit EIA's Biomass Explained website.