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Posts Tagged ‘biomass’

Spoke to the Institute of Chartered Foresters annual conference in London this week, an event where people think very hard about trees. The UK is a pretty small island in forestry terms. One Canadian Speaker said “stick to gardening” (he was joking a bit) and I got an insight into the realities of biomass-fuel.

As well as being one of the UK’s biggest CO2 polluters, Drax power station is also our biggest renewable energy source, as it now mixes dried biomass pellets into the coal it burns. This relies on large-scale imports of biomass (UK timber resources are too small and thinly spread), which mirrors the plant reliance on large-scale imports of coal (after extraction, similar supply chain logistics are involved).

That’s not to say we should give up on the UK’s woodfuel, but it needs to supply smaller local markets. Community buildings, communities and homes are all looking to burn more wood. The UK has under-managed small woodlands that could supply this resource, giving energy and ecological benefits.

Furthermore, our future energy deficit is going to be big enough that we’ll need both sources of biomass energy: large-scale importers like Drax, and utilisation of our domestic resources in smaller-scale generation. And more energy efficiency too.

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