Bioenergy describes the generation of power from renewable biological resources including the following:
- agricultural crop wastes,
- plantation wood waste,
- household garden and food waste,
- sugar cane residues (known as bagasse),
- sewage and animal wastes.
All plant and animal matter is called biomass. Biomass can be used to generate electricity, light, heat, motion and fuel. Converting biomass energy into usable energy has many environmental benefits. It uses waste materials that are usually dumped, and uses up methane (a greenhouse gas). Fuels such as ethanol can be made from biomass and used as an alternative to petrol to power motor cars.
An increasing number of renewable energy projects using biomass have been developed. Most of these use waste products from agriculture, so they solve a waste disposal problem and, at the same time, create energy for use in homes, farms and factories.
Biogas can also be produced from livestock manure and human sewage. Farms where animals graze and sewage plants are ideal places to produce energy from biogas. Waste peelings from food processing plants can also be used to produce biogas.