Biomass is natural material such as wood, plants and animal waste which is used to create fuel, heat and energy.

Plant waste can be burnt to produce heat and electricity or used to produce gas which can then be burnt to create electricity or run a vehicle.

Food and farm waste produces methane which is collected and burnt to produce energy. It is also used to heat water to produce steam to power a turbine which generates electricity.

Bio-fuels are produced from processing different energy crops such as oilseed rape and sugar beet.

Interesting Facts

  • The first major biomass power station in the UK was built by EON at Lockerbie and produces 43MW of power.
  • Commercial bio-fuel vehicles are becoming more common, with a greater provision of filling stations available.
  • You could run a car on fuel using recycled cooking oils!
  • Availability of bio-fuels is likely to increase under the government’s renewable transport fuel obligation, which states that 5% of all car fuel must come from renewable sources by 2010.
  • 11% of the 28 million tons of waste produced by UK households is currently used to make electricity.


  • Helps to recycle waste which otherwise might cause smell and pollution.
  • The fuel tends to be cheap.
  • Solutions can generate both electricity and heat requirements.
  • Biomass is renewable.
  • Opportunities for agricultural industries to supply fuel source.

Down Sides

  • Collecting and storing the fuel in sufficient quantities can be difficult and transporting it may create more greenhouse gases.
  • Burning the fuel generates carbon dioxide but growing the crops absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide.
  • Some materials are not available all year round.

Local Applications

  • Crichiebank Business Centre Inverurie
  • Aboyne Academy heating system.