Materials such as wood, animal waste, and crops are called biomass. These materials can be burned to generate energy for human consumption.
In 1990, almost half of the global population used biomass as its energy source. For those without access to expensive
energy from power plants, burning simple and common materials is often the solution chosen.
Biomass is most common in developing countries. China has bought millions of biogas digesters, especially for its rural population. For just $20 and some hog manure, a family of five can be supplied with energy. Not only does this allow for cheap and easy production of power, but it also removes unwanted waste.
India is also beginning to use biogas. The huge number of cows
there produce a large amount of dung that could cheaply be converted into usable energy.
Biomass provides 5% of the United States' energy needs. Many rural areas are heated by burning wood, and some power plants have even turned to wood burning to generate energy.
Many companies are now performing research on biomass in an attempt to develop it as a useful energy source for the future. Some corporations are using biomass for their own power needs.
In reality, biomass will
not last forever and it is not completely renewable. People are chopping down forests and using the wood before they can grow again, which means the resource will eventually be depleted.