What is biomass?

What is biomass?

Biomass. It is probably a term you’ve heard of, but like many of us, you might not know exactly what it means. Read on to find out a little bit more about how we use it to power your homes.

So, go on, what is biomass?

Put simply, biomass is a renewable energy source, generated from burning wood, plants and other organic matter, such as manure or household waste. It can be used to generate electricity, heat, or biofuels through these processes:

  • Combustion.

    The chemical process of burning a fuel, producing heat and light in the process. Typically resulting in the production of carbon dioxide, water vapour, and other gases or residues. The steam produced during the firing process powers a turbine, which turns a generator and produces electricity. This electricity can be used for manufacturing or to power buildings.

  • Gasification.

    This is the process of converting carbon-based materials into a mixture of gases that can be used as fuel. It is achieved through heating the materials at a very high temperature in a low-oxygen environment - preventing combustion from taking place. This does not directly generate electricity, but instead creates an alternate fuel that can be used instead of natural gas.

  • Anaerobic digestion.

    This is the process of breaking down biodegradable materials, such as organic waste or animal manure by using microorganisms in the absence of oxygen (producing biogas and nutrient-rich digestate). It is done in a similar way to gasification. This does not directly generate electricity, instead the biogases (usually methane) produced can be used in place of fossil fuels.

Is biomass renewable energy?

The use of biomass as an energy source is considered to be renewable because the organic matter used can be replenished naturally, unlike fossil fuels. For example, when harvesting wood as a fuel, more trees are planted to replace those used. Better yet, over one year a mature tree will take up about 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and in exchange release oxygen, making up for some of the emissions released when it is used as a fuel*. However, biomass is not necessarily considered carbon neutral, as it depends on the specific fuel and other factors such as transportation. At E.ON Next, all of our fixed tariff customers are already enjoying 100% renewable electricity**. Want to join the party? Check out our latest fixed tariff deals.

If you’re looking to introduce even more renewable energy into your home, don't forget to check out our home energy solutions, such as solar panels and heat pumps. As an E.ON Next customer you can enjoy up to £350*** off our home solutions, and help to lower your household bills and emissions.

What is renewable energy?

Wind. Solar. Hydroelectric. Biomass. Renewable energy has taken root at the heart of the climate conversation. But how much do you actually know about renewable energy?

The Independent’s Decomplicated series, in partnership with E.ON Next, explores the renewable energy transition on the road to net zero, and answers fundamental questions relating to renewables, such as where it comes from and how it is harnessed.

Generating energy from biomass.

As part of the wider E.ON group we generate our own renewable electricity from biomass too. Our biomass plants in Lockerbie and Sheffield create enough energy to power over 100,000 homes.

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The E.ON Next Community is a space for customers just like you, to share experiences and offer advice. Find support or suggest your own energy topics, plus get involved in discussions on the latest energy news.

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*https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/forests-health-and-climate-change/key-facts/trees-help-tackle-climate-change#:~:text=Over%20one%20year%20a%20mature,of%2 0pollutants%20from%20the%20air. **Electricity backed by 100% renewable sources, E.ON's renewable generation assets, agreements with UK generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your home comes from the National Grid. Fixed term contracts only. Smart meter required, where eligible. Exit fees and T&Cs apply. ***E.ON Next customers can save up to £50 off an Electric Vehicle home charger, up to £200 off solar panels and batteries and £350 off a heat pump. Terms and conditions apply.

Published 16/07/2023