Energy crops are low-cost and low-maintenance crops grown solely for energy production (not for food). The crops are processed into solid, liquid or gaseous fuels, such as pellets, bioethanol or biogas. The fuels are burned to generate power or heat.
The plants are generally categorized as woody or herbaceous. Woody plants include willow and poplar, herbaceous plants include Miscanthus x giganteus and Pennisetum purpureum (both known as elephant grass). Herbaceous crops, while physically smaller than trees, store roughly twice the amount of CO2 (in the form of carbon) below ground, compared to woody crops.