Biomass is any organic matter, typically plant based matter, that is available on a renewable or recurring basis. Biomass resources include forest and mill residues, agricultural crops and wastes, wood and wood wastes, animal wastes, livestock operation residues, aquatic plants, fast-growing trees and plants, municipal and industrial wastes.
The use of biomass to produce heat and power can be environmentally beneficial because biomass is a renewable resource and its combustion does not contribute additional greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The combustion of biomass merely returns the CO2 that was absorbed during the growth of the biomass, resulting in a net zero contribution of greenhouse gases.
Source: Excerpted from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Combined Heat and Power Partnership. Biomass Combined Heat and Power Catalog of Technologies, 96 (Sep. 2007).