There are many items to include when considering the sustainability of biomass for cofiring, and some of them are hard to quantify. The focus of this webinar is on the greenhouse gas emission aspects of sustainability. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions achieved by substituting biomass for coal depends on a number of factors such as the nature of the fossil fuel reference system, the source of the biomass, and how it is produced. Relevant issues in biomass production include the energy balance, the greenhouse gas balance, land use change, non-CO2 greenhouse gas emission from soils, changes to soil organic carbon, and the timing of emissions and removal of CO2 which relates to the scale of biomass production. Certification of sustainable biomass is slow to emerge at the national and international level, so various organisations are developing and using their own standards for sustainable production. The EU does not yet have sustainability standards for solid biomass, but the UK and Belgium have developed their own.Read more >
Dr Rohan Fernando presents the findings of his latest report on biomassRead more >
Biomass could have an important role in the strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from large coal plants. Amongst the plethora of different biomasses, wood pellets have emerged as one of the most successful and fast growing internationally traded commodities. Wood (and straw) pellets offer a more energy dense and transportable alternative to the traditional wood chip, a product most commonly associated with the paper and pulp industry.
A few large scale projects in Europe have drawn on North American sources to supplement local supplies of biomass without any major problems. At current levels of demand, there appears to be an abundance of wood resource.
However, extending cofiring at low rates (5-10%) to the world’s coal-fired fleet will increase demand for wood pellets significantly. Meeting this demand will offer opportunities and challenges for the entire biomass supply chain, not least forest resources. This presentation accompanies a report by the IEA Clean Coal Centre to review the current understanding of world biomass resources using published forestry data from the UN Forestry and Agricultural Organization (FAO). From these data, the author attempts to identify a global and regional resource figure for wood in the form of residues and waste by-products that arise from the forestry industry; and discusses the broad issues that affect forest resources worldwide.