Biomass is a renewable resource obtained from organic matter (of plant or animal origin) which is mainly used for producing energy. In Brazil, the main sources of biomass are firewood, charcoal, and to a lesser extent, wood pellets.
Energy forests are planted forests, and the product obtained from these forests is biomass for energy. They are strategically planned to generate clean, renewable energy. Energy forests represent a competitive source of fuel for power plants, decentralizing the energy production system while simultaneously offering environmental, economic, and social benefits by creating direct and indirect jobs in the region.
Other important benefits are reduced pressure to cut natural forests, conservation of important ecosystems, and timber production in regions where there are few natural resources or which are not suited for other productive activities.
An important product of energy forests is charcoal, which in addition to producing energy is also used as a reducer in producing pig iron. The Brazilian steel industry is unique, in that it uses charcoal instead of coal coke for this purpose. By replacing fossil fuels with biomass, more carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis and stocked within biomass; this biomass can then be used instead of non-renewable products or sources of energy, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.