Canadian Consulting Engineer

Biomass energy not so green?

A report by Greenpeace Canada says that biomass energy generation --traditionally favoured by environmentalists -- could be an environmental fiasco.

November 29, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A report by Greenpeace Canada says that biomass energy generation –traditionally favoured by environmentalists — could be an environmental fiasco.

The report “Fuelling a BioMess: Why Burning Trees for Energy Will Harm People, the Climate and Forests” recommended that forest bioenergy operations should remain small scale.

Provincial governments are opening forests to the large-scale extraction of wood for biomass energy projects as the forestry byproducts such as sawdust and bark chips that are traditional sources of biomass energy feedstock are decreasing due to a slump in the forestry sector.

The Greenpeace report disputes the claim that biomass is carbon neutral, saying that “the C02 emitted will harm the climate for decades before it is captured by regrowing trees. It said that burning biomass also emits more lung irritating carbon monoxide and particulate matter compared to current coal fired energy.

The report recommends that governments should prohibit the harvesting of whole and standing trees from what is defined as “biomass.”


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