Solar energy is also converted into stored fuel by the photosynthetic process that takes place in trees, grasses and other plants. The stored chemical energy that results can release heat when it is burned, or oxidized. Solid biomass may be converted to liquid or gaseous fuels.

Biomass fuels are considered to be renewable since they can be replenished within our lifetimes - several months to a few decades - as opposed to coal, oil and other fossil fuels - which require millions of years of geological processes to develop.

The most common uses of biomass energy today are the burning of wood or wood residues to heat our homes and factories and the combustion of alcohol fuels (ethanol or methanol) to power our cars or trucks. Burning biomass does add some carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants to our atmosphere, but the growing of replacement biomass results in the removal of CO2 during the photosynthetic process.

For the heating values of biomass, hydrogen and other fuels see the Fuel Heat Values Table. Also, for an index of manufacturers of biomass fuel manufacturers, including wood burning stoves, alcohols and gaseous fuels, see to the Renewable Energy Manufacturers Index

Browse our glossary of renewable energy terms or our list of biomass energy organizations for more information.

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