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Biomass Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Biomass is material that comes from living things. Because living things have energy, biomass provides a renewable source of energy to fuel our vehicles, heat our homes, and make electricity.

What is Biomass?

What do trees, oil for French fries, and animal poop have in common? They're all forms of biomass. Biomass is organic matter that comes from living or recently living things, like plants and animals. Both the prefix 'bio' and the word 'organic' refer to living things.

Biomass is full of energy. A plant absorbs energy from the sun, and that energy is passed along to an animal when it eats the plant. Since humans are a type of animal, you could say that biomass fuels the human body, but it can also be turned into liquid fuel to run vehicles, heat to keep us warm, or electricity to light up our lives.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is a renewable form of energy made from recently living materials. Biomass energy is an alternative to fossil fuels, like oil, coal, and natural gas. Fossil fuels also come from living things, but fossil fuels are non-renewable. The once-living things that make up fossil fuels died millions of years ago and need to be subjected to a lot of heat and pressure to be turned into fuel. Since we can't make more fossil fuels, they could run out.

Switchgrass is a crop that can be grown for biomass energy.
switchgrass

With biomass energy, we can replant or make more organic materials. Wood is an example of biomass energy. You can cut down a tree and burn it for heat, and then replace the tree by planting a new one.

Waste-to-Energy

Garbage contains materials that came from once-living things, like paper that came from trees, leather products that came from the hide of an animal, and food and yard wastes that came from plants. These biomass materials can be burned in special waste-to-energy power plants to provide electricity for homes, schools, and businesses.

Biogas

Biogas can be captured and used as fuel.
biogas

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