Rights: The University of Waikato Published 10 June 2008 Download

Biomass is anything that has a biological origin. Common biomass sources are plants such as wood, corn and maize. If something has an organic origin, it has energy embodied in it that has the potential to be extracted and be used as an energy source.

Points of interest

Effluent is wastewater and sewage from towns, cities or businesses (such as what you find left over in the cow shed!).


Biomass is any form of material that has been grown, and examples are wood from trees, grass, corn, maize, which can be turned into ethanol, and also it includes waste materials, municipal solid waste, effluents from cities and industries, which contain biological or organic material in them, and anything that has got organic matter, biomass, in it has energy in it that can be extracted and converted into a useful form of energy.

John O’Neill
Arndt Husar
TVNZ Television Archive