Solid Biomass

Solid biomass is organic material of recent biological origin, i.e. recently living organisms such as plants, animals and their by-products.

Solid biomass is used to generate power and heat, generally through straightforward combustion. The most common form of solid biomass is wood - an energy source that has been used by humans for millennia. It is still used as a primary energy source on a daily basis by approximately 2 billion people.

Waste products are also a form of solid biomass. This varies from animal waste (e.g. manure) and municipal waste, to garden waste and crop residues (e.g. unused field crops). Alternatively, some waste products come from industrial processes (e.g. wood chips).

A number of crops are also grown specifically for energy production, either for direct combustion or for conversion into liquid biofuels. These include plants such as willow, miscanthus, straw, jatropha, switchgrass, Chinese tallow and hemp. They also include food crops such as corn, sugarcane, maize, sorghum and soybeans.

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