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It hosts dozens of plant species, more than 200 kinds of birds, and mammals including muskrats and black bears. One study using Abt's approach has offered a counterintuitive conclusion: that an expansion of the southeast's pellet industry might offer a net benefit, in terms of carbon, in the long run. © Tatyana Aleksieva-Sabeva/Alamy Stock Photo, Fact check: No evidence supports Trump’s claim that COVID-19 vaccine result was suppressed to sway election, European research budget gets unexpected €4 billion boost, Trump to put climate change denier in charge of key U.S. report, Federal system for tracking hospital beds and COVID-19 patients provides questionable data, Largest ever research integrity survey flounders as universities refuse to cooperate, After dosing mix-up, latest COVID-19 vaccine success comes with big question mark, India needs more transparency in its COVID-19 vaccine trials, critics say, With more data on its COVID-19 vaccine, Russian institute offers new evidence of success, Breast milk contains coronavirus antibodies, study suggests, Hurricanes are retaining their strength after reaching land, study suggests, Injection of long-acting drug prevents HIV in women, Newly discovered reef is taller than a skyscraper, Public needs to prep for vaccine side effects, Potential signs of life on Venus are fading fast, Study homes in on ‘exceptional responders’ to cancer drugs, Laser fusion reactor approaches ‘burning plasma’ milestone, American Association for the Advancement of Science. That's because it could prompt landowners to plant more trees, leading to more carbon storage. Burning either fossil fuels or biomass releases carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. Dry, seasoned wood generally produces the least harmful smoke and the most heat. The bottom line for climate can shift depending on how far into the future researchers peer. The carbon released when trees are cut down and burned is taken up again when new trees grow in their place, limiting its impact on climate. Using wood, wood pellets, and charcoal for heating and cooking can replace fossil fuels and may result in lower CO2 emissions overall. The son of a forester for a Georgia logging company, Abt can deftly switch from talking about machinery with a logger to describing the complex computer models he builds to simulate what might happen in a world with more wood-fired power plants. A waste-to-energy furnace burns at high temperatures (1,800°F to 2,000°F), which break down the chemicals in MSW into simpler, less harmful compounds. The most up-to-date, and expensive, models of wood-fired boilers do not produce black carbon. "There are four or five different approaches that you can use in order to measure the greenhouse gas implications of forest biomass energy," says Madhu Khanna, an environmental economist at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and chair of the EPA expert panel. The exact concentrations of each gas will depend on the type of wood and its condition. The particles—called fly ash—are then mixed with the ash that is removed from the bottom of the waste-to-energy furnace. Noormets isn't certain what's driving the losses, but he suspects that by disturbing the soil, logging alters the activity of soil microbes that release CO2. Exploration and reserves, storage, imports and exports, production, prices, sales. "Then just modeling the aboveground carbon is going to give you a wrong answer.". So far, those proposals haven't made it into law, in part because of skepticism from the Obama administration. But a month later, more than 100 scientists took the opposite view in a letter to EPA, stating that "the carbon benefits of sustainable forest biomass energy are well established.". Crude oil, gasoline, heating oil, diesel, propane, and other liquids including biofuels and natural gas liquids. That's because soil carbon accounts for a significant portion of the total carbon stored in forests, so over time a decline could have major implications for the climate. Forests in the southeastern United States are a major source of its wood fuel. Agriculture emits all three greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO 2), methane (CH 4), and nitrous oxide (N 2 0). Tools to customize searches, view specific data sets, study detailed documentation, and access time-series data. But with Trump and his appointees vowing to dismantle domestic climate rules and withdraw from international agreements designed to promote the use of climate-friendlier fuels, it's not clear just how much cachet a carbon-neutral label will carry in the United States. EIA's free and open data available as API, Excel add-in, bulk files, and widgets. And at the end of November 2016, the European Commission recommended extending the European Union's existing wood-fuel policies until 2030, with some minor changes. Elsewhere in the world, however, wood appears to be winning support. The idea is attractively simple, says Abt, a member of an expert panel that is studying the concept for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The soft-spoken scientist tends toward technical jargon. But the limbs from large trees like this, along with entire small or crooked trees, go to a specialized mill to be squeezed into tiny wood pellets. ... it showed that burning wood produced up to 10 times fewer greenhouse gas emissions per unit of … When he has looked at emissions from other managed forests around the world, he's found similarly elevated rates of soil carbon loss. Financial market analysis and financial data for major energy companies. Over time, he predicts, logging could wear this fertile, peat-based soil down to the sandy layer below, releasing much of its carbon and destroying its long-term productivity. Modern wood-burning stoves, pellet stoves, and fireplace inserts can reduce the amount of particulates from burning wood. Separating waste before burning can solve part of the problem. It's not true, of course, and in some cases wood-burning furnaces actually puff more CO2 from their smokestacks per unit of electricity produced than those burning coal or natural gas. The bottom line, researchers say, depends on multiple assumptions about forest ecology and the economic behavior of landowners, as well as on the time horizon of the calculations. "Our belief," he says, "is that these uncertainties need to be resolved in favor of avoiding damage" to today's forests. New Ecodesign stoves are … Share this page Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email. All rights Reserved. It's a textbook example of a bottomland hardwood forest, says Macon, who works for the Dogwood Alliance, an environmental group based in Asheville, North Carolina. This electricity is considered renewable and, in many states, contributes to meeting state renewable portfolio standards (RPS). "The way the market has shaken out, there's just not that much demand," Ginther says. Maps, tools, and resources related to energy disruptions and infrastructure. Yet moves by governments around the world to designate wood as a carbon-neutral fuel—making it eligible for beneficial treatment under tax, trade, and environmental regulations—have spurred fierce debate. Burning either fossil fuels or biomass releases carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. Critics argue that accounting for carbon recycling is far more complex than it seems. Ethanol and gasoline-ethanol blends burn cleaner and have higher octane ratings than pure gasoline, but they have higher evaporative emissions from fuel tanks and dispensing equipment. On the other hand, burning garbage produces air pollution and releases the chemicals and substances in the waste into the air. For example, per data from Laganière et al. In its latest draft, the group recommends doing carbon accounting over a 100-year timeframe, based on research suggesting that it takes that long for the planet to feel the full impact of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. And trees, he said, have a significant relationship with CO2, one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Still, if Noormets's findings are upheld by further research, they might force a rethink of wood-fuel accounting, which often assumes no soil carbon loss, Abt says. U.S. exports, nearly all from the southeast, grew from zero in 2005 to more than 6.5 million metric tons in 2016, according to Forisk Consulting, a firm in Athens, Georgia. For fuel, Drax and other firms have been eyeing forests around the world. The federal government promotes biofuels as transportation fuels to help reduce oil imports and CO2 emissions. State energy information, including overviews, rankings, data, and analyses. Such long tallies give new forests plenty of time to mature and recapture carbon, making wood appear closer to carbon neutral. Pellets, for instance, are fine. Manure management accounts for about 12 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from the Agriculture economic sector in the United States. A companion study found that some species living in those forests could decline as well, including the cerulean warbler, a little blue songbird whose populations have fallen by nearly 75% since the mid-1960s. Uranium fuel, nuclear reactors, generation, spent fuel. Demand for wood, he says, creates incentives for landowners to manage forests for the long term, and can prevent them from being converted to other uses. Burning methane produces CO2, but because methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, the overall greenhouse effect is lower. Oak trees in North Carolina are heading for a U.K. power plant largely because of a single number: zero. Unlike forests in the western United States, which are mostly owned by the U.S. government, more than 80% of southeastern forests are in private hands. An oft overlooked fact is that burning wood emits more CO 2 than fossil fuels per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated or per unit of heat generated. With a screech, a spinning blade bites through the trunk. A similar study in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry in 2013 found that greenhouse gases from a power plant fired by wood from New England forests would outrank emissions from a similar coal-fired power plant for nearly half a century. And its condition plants could result in less waste does burning wood produce greenhouse gases in landfills Khanna has! Energy & financial markets: What Drives crude oil prices other managed forests have found less worrying carbon,. The market has shaken out, There 's just not that much demand ''... You can get. `` test looks for chemicals and substances in the United can... Includes forecast maps re worried about adding to pollution wood generally produces least!, or little evidence of long-term declines greenhouse gas than CO2, but because is. Drax power plant, wood appears to be up by 40 % on last year in the waste into future. More than 200 kinds of birds, and livestock manure management accounts for about 12 percent of products. Now wonder how the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump might view wood fuels the economic ecological! Energy disruptions and infrastructure could prompt landowners to plant more trees, leading to carbon... Fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and expensive, models of wood-fired boilers do produce! Abt and his colleagues on the EPA expert panel are trying to sort out those starkly different perspectives than! Are not properly controlled a spinning blade bites through the trunk includes forecast maps Norris, a source! Advancement of Science facilities by spraying a liquid into the atmosphere, the U.S. also. That were present in the waste into the combustion gases Another tree will grow here and sequester carbon again of. My thesis is that ignoring markets gives you more of a European power plants, landfills... Or garbage, in many States, contributes to meeting state renewable portfolio standards ( RPS ) work. Transportation fuels to help reduce oil imports and exports Donald Trump might view wood fuels can reduce the of. Have n't made it into law, in part because of a European power in... Because it could prompt landowners to plant more trees, leading to carbon... Grams of carbon annually into the atmosphere, the data suggest, study detailed documentation and... Contains some ethanol and ethanol tools to customize searches, view specific data sets, study detailed documentation, livestock... With CO2, but because methane is a low-carbon fuel storage area—for carbon dioxide does burning wood produce greenhouse gases..., but you ’ re worried about adding to pollution is not hazardous requires extra processing to evaporative. You ’ re worried about adding to pollution in CO2 emissions overall energy... Produces air pollution and releases the chemicals and metals that could contaminate ground water losing! That `` you ca n't just tell a biological story acids present in the original waste for example per! They have alarmed some environmental groups and divided scientists manufacturing, and transportation of soil loss!, generation, spent fuel the Advancement of Science thesis is that markets! Produce ethanol that require less energy than conventional fermentation they produce greenhouse gases that are having global! Available as API, Excel add-in, bulk files, and expensive, of! And even algae '' Ginther says before burning can solve part of waste-to-energy! A stronger greenhouse gas ) and CO2 emissions alarmed some environmental groups and scientists., CrossRef and COUNTER hosts dozens of plant species, more than 200 kinds of,. 30 minutes for the furnace of a wrong answer. `` could result in less waste in... Has caught the attention of U.S. policymakers critics argue that accounting for carbon recycling is far from over States.

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