New report shows carbon benefits of biomass

A new report by Bridging with Biomass, a coalition of North American and European wood pellet producers, suggests that the use of solid biomass for power generation achieves significant carbon savings.

The coalition has called on the European Commission to take these findings into account when establishing policies 'so as to facilitate the long-term investment and legal certainty needed for sustainable biomass to continue to play its essential role on decarbonising Europe's energy supply'.

The study reveals that, when assumptions and real data from the field are used for modelling forest carbon dynamics, the production of energy from sustainable solid biomass results in an immediate or very rapid contribution to climate change mitigation. It also said solid biomass enables European energy utilities to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired plants and is expected to contribute to meeting the EU's 2020 renewable energy target.

The report – Forest Sustainability and Carbon Balance of EU Importation of North American Forest Biomass for Bioenergy Production – was produced in collaboration with several European energy utilities and organisations. It focuses on the southeast region of the US and British Columbia in Canada, two key supply areas of forest-based fuel pellets for EU consumption, but says its key findings apply equally to European-produced pellets.

The report's findings take into account the fact that biomass originates mainly from forests which are managed under a multi-products approach, using by-products from other wood industry activities, such as tree tops and limbs left over after harvest, sawmill residues and low quality roundwood that do not meet the standards for lumber processing.

Additionally, forests from these regions are subject to strict national rules and legislation, which ensure environmental protections are in place and that forests are sustainably managed.

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