Bioenergy is a type of energy that comes from biomass. It is an alternative renewable form of energy because it comes from the results of the photosynthesis process during which plants use the energy of the sun to create carbohydrates. This energy is very different from fossil energy because fossil fuels are hydrocarbons. When people grow plants for the purposes of bioenergy creation, plants fundamentally become a form of energy storage, a way to store the energy of the sun.
In general, biomass is a description of all kinds of organic matter, from cow manure to tree products, including various plants that grow on the surface of the planet. Today, almost any organic material can be turned into bioenergy, from crop residues to landfill gases to industrial waste.
On a small scale, homes can burn biomass in stoves to create heat. On a large scale, electric plants can burn methane gas that comes from composts. Methane can later become a source of energy for large urban areas. Ethanol is also a type of bioenergy. It comes from corn and people use it with fossil fuels more and more.
Combustion of wood, plants and grasses can produce heat and also drive turbines to create electricity. Steam locomotives originally had wood-burning stoves. It was only later that they switched to coal.
The most popular wood biomass in the world is the waste from the forestry industry. The waste mostly comes from paper mills and wood processing plants. Plants turn it in into pellets that are easy to burn.
Corn, manure and wood pellets are an excellent source of bioenergy for homes, where they can be used for heating and cooking. Some stoves can burn anything people would throw into them, even though their effectiveness varies greatly. Also, some fuels create a smell in the process that makes them unusable in residential homes.