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(a) What is biomass? Give three examples of biomass.
(b) Name the biomass which is still widely used as a source of heat energy in many households of our country.

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Hint: Biomass is a fuel that is produced from all the organic materials made by plants and animals. It is used as an energy source for many domestic purposes.

Complete answer: Energy is required to perform any activity whether inside or outside of the body. This energy is obtained from different sources. There are two types of energy resources, first, the renewable resources that are naturally available and are in abundance that will never run out, for e.g. wind energy or solar energy. They can’t be replenished i.e. can be recycled. Second is the non-renewable resources, in which a fixed amount of resources is available; one of the examples is fossil fuel. Biomass is a biological renewable energy resource obtained from living or recently living plant matter such as trees, crops, or animals that can be processed into fuel and heat. The word ‘bio’ means life and ‘mass’ mean things. Biomass is important for the following aspects. All biomass contains stored energy that can be instantly used, for example; when the wood is burnt, the heat energy is produced. Plants perform photosynthesis with the help of sunlight and store some amount of energy in different parts. This energy is called chemical energy. Hence, when any plant biomass set to fire its stored chemical energy is converted into heat energy. Biomass is also known as carbon-neutral fuel as it takes up carbon from the atmosphere while growing and returns the same amount of carbon when it is burned. Few examples of biomass are wood, poultry litter, cow dung, etc. The most widely used biomass fuel in India is wood. It is mostly used for the domestic purpose of producing heat energy.

Note: Biomass maintains net carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Increased levels of carbon dioxide contribute to global warming and other climatic conditions. Hence, replacing the use of wood as fuel instead of fossil fuels can help in mitigation (reduction) of climatic changes.