The term biomass refers to organic matter which can be used as fuel or for industrial production. For example, plant matter such as dead trees/ branches, yard clippings and wood chips can be used to generate electricity. Biomass can also include plant or animal matter used for production of fibres, chemicals or heat and biodegradable wastes that can be burnt as fuel. It excludes organic substances such as coal or petroleum. Biomass production is a growing industry fuelled by current interests in sustainable fuel sources.
Industrial biomass can be grown from numerous types of plants, including miscanthus, switchgrass, hemp, corn, poplar, willow, sorghum, sugarcane, and a variety of tree species, ranging from eucalyptus to oil palm (palm oil). The particular plant used is usually not important to the end products, but it does affect processing of the raw material. Other sources for biomass fuel can include forestry residue, farm waste, slaughterhouse and fishery waste, and organic municipal solid waste.