Sustainable Biomass: The Potential of Wood Waste

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Petey Peterson
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What is Wood Waste?

Wood waste is the term for woods and wood-based products that have come to the end of their product lifespan. It is mainly generated by lumber industries and urban activities such as construction, demolition, wood processing and wood packaging. Wood waste can be used to generate heat, biogas, biochar and biofuels– this is known as biomass conversion.

How Much Wood Waste is Available for Biomass Conversion?

According to a study by The National Energy Education Project (NEEP), the global production of wood-derived biomass is around 4.6 billion tons annually. Of this amount, 20% goes to industrial ‘round wood’ (such as lumber and furniture), and another 20% is primarily production loss that remains in-field to decay. Wood production companies report that the remaining 60% of wood biomass is used for energy generation, but most of the time this just means burning it.

Why is There so Much Wood Waste?

One of the main reasons is the lack of infrastructure and incentives to collect and transport waste wood to biomass facilities. Another reason is the environmental and social impacts of biomass conversion, such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and land use conflicts. Some scientists have warned that converting coal plants to biomass could fuel climate crisis by increasing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing forest carbon sinks.

Therefore, while wood waste is a potential source of renewable energy, it also poses significant challenges and trade-offs. It is important to consider the whole life cycle of biomass conversion, from harvesting to processing to gasification, and to ensure that it is done in a sustainable and efficient way. That's where LOCOAL® believes it can help.

Converting biomass to energy and biochar at the source of its accumulation is a more efficient approach than doing it at a separate location. This method reduces transportation costs and emissions, and it also helps to prevent the release of methane during the decomposition process. Biochar, a byproduct of this process, can be used to improve soil quality and sequester carbon, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By implementing this approach, we can create a sustainable and circular system that benefits both the environment and the economy.

If you're interested in learning more about LOCOAL's sustainable solutions for biomass conversion and how they can benefit both the environment and society, contact us here. Our team of experts can provide you with more information and help you find the best solution for your needs.