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Biomass is derived from different types of organic matter: energy plants (oilseeds, plants containing sugar) and forestry, agricultural or urban waste including wood and household waste. Biomass can be used for heating, for producing electricity and for transport biofuels. Biomass can be solid (plants, wood, straw and other plants), gaseous (from organic waste, landfill waste) or liquid (derived from crops such as wheat, rapeseed, soy, or from lignocellulosic material).

The use of biomass can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon dioxide it gives off when it is burned is counterbalanced by the amount absorbed when the plant in question was grown. However, generating net greenhouse gas savings also depends on the cultivation and fuel production processes used.