Biomass is another term for energy or material derived from plants and animals. It contains captured energy from living organisms. When wood, crops or manure are burned by thermal conversion, the released heat and gases can be used as energy.
Biomass is also stored solar energy. When plants grow, they capture and store the sun's energy through photosynthesis. Through the aid of chlorophyll, they convert air into carbon dioxide and turn the water in the ground into carbohydrates. The plants break down into carbon dioxide and water again when burned and release the sun's energy.
Most of the available biomass energy is from agricultural crops, forest residues and plants. Some crops, such as woody crops, corn and grass, are specifically grown on farms for use as energy sources.