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Burning wood biomass: an opportunity or a problem?

Fri-18-2016 Burning wood biomass: an opportunity or a problem?

The pellet problem: once is burning wood biomass smart for the climate? Not everybody agrees. Visual by OR Department of biological science.

With climate commitments looming, the eu Union has mandated that twenty % of its energy come back from renewable sources by 2020. As such, several electricity producers area unit supply their boilers with woody biomass, usually harvested from forests and non-forest sources like mill waste and construction trash, and so compressed into dense pellets for burning. It’s a well-liked various to wind and star, and one that's beaked as each "renewable" and "carbon neutral." however is it?

Burning wood biomass report

A new report sent yesterday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission argues that those labels area unit dishonorable — not simply to governments seeking to fulfill carbon reduction commitments, however to investors in corporations that turn out woody biomass.

The report, written by the non-profit environmental teams Partnership for Policy Integrity and Dogwood Alliance, takes specific aim at biomass large Enviva Partners, that owns six wood pellet producing facilities within the southern u.  s. and is one in every of the country’s largest exporters to power plants in Europe. The report claims that Enviva "is misrepresenting actual emissions from burning wood pellets as fuel by wide representing their product as ‘reducing’ carbon emissions compared to burning coal while not providing necessary context for understanding the constraints of that claim."

The biomass report takes issue with 2 major assumptions on biomass: 1) That burning wood for electricity production reduces planet warming emissions compared to coal, and 2) ciao as new trees area unit planted to exchange the biomass that’s being burned, web emissions from biomass power area unit essentially zero.

Burning wood biomass: opinions

William Schlesinger, a biogeochemist and president retired of the Cary Institute of scheme Studies, agreed, noting that "the dioxide from the combustion of wood is free virtually instantly, whereas the expansion and regrowth of wood takes decades."

Burning biomass proponents argue that smart forest management — as well as planting new trees that may grow and entice the carbon being free once woody material is burned — is that the answer. this could be technically true, some scientists say, however each the maths and also the implementation area unit difficult, partly because of the timescales required to produce forests, and conjointly as a result of the kinds of trees and woody material being harvested extremely matters. harvest old-growth forests for pellets, for instance, would have immensely totally different consequences than mistreatment construction trash, lumber mill waste, or perhaps invasive weeds like switchgrass.

Burning grasses or young trees, Schlesinger aforesaid, "can be useful in reducing phylogeny emissions of carbonic acid gas to the atmosphere. Burning mature and old-growth trees isn't."

We have no plan wherever the wood pellets made by Enviva area unit derived," he added, "and some evidence [suggests] that they're coming back from giant, old trees."

Jenkins opinion on biomass burning

Jenkins conjointly unemployed the present report on Enviva as a packaging stunt, and in a very ready statement the corporate countered most of the group’s core allegations, inform to what Enviva considers a solid scientific basis for mistreatment rigorously harvested biomass.

Over the previous couple of years, many major studies have over that burning biomass, beneath bound circumstances, will turn out even a lot of carbonic acid gas than burning coal. And last August, the Environmental Protection Agency bucked trade pressure and established that not all biomass was carbon neutral (page 225), stating that "carbon neutrality isn't Associate in Nursing applicable a priori assumption."

Which is why Jewess Booth, founding father of the Partnership for Policy Integrity, hopes that filing a letter with the S.E.C. can force the govt to step in to demand a lot of transparency from Enviva and similar corporations on the real-world climate advantages of their merchandise.

"It is important that we've transparency on the $64000 emissions impacts of varied renewable energy technologies if we have a tendency to area unit to form progress in reducing emissions," she wrote in Associate in Nursing email. "Reducing them on paper isn’t enough. The atmosphere didn’t get that note."

Source: http://ukrfuel.com/news-pellet-problem-biomass-climate-65.html

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