Wood fuel a low carbon economy

Ayling, Graham
June 2005
Ecos - A Review of Conservation;2005, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p10
The article focuses on some of the options and environmental conditions for the development of wood fuel. There are potential benefits and potential impacts from large scale use of wood fuel. Wood fuel is a renewable, "carbon-neutral" fuel which can be obtained by harvesting and managing wood at a sustainable rate. It has gained popularity since it is thought that the level of carbon dioxide released during combustion is equal to the quantity that can be absorbed by the trees over their lifetime. This is part of the natural carbon-cycle. However, there is a danger that wood fuel may be obtained through non-sustainable harvesting under commercial pressure. This would undermine its status as a renewable fuel. So the wood fuel industry will need to create an accreditation scheme to ensure that wood from only sustainable sources is harvested. This needs to be planned carefully since an expensive scheme may drive local producers out of the market. These are important considerations since there can be significant carbon emissions savings through the use of wood fuels.


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