Wood harnessed for biomass energy at the end of its life is a sound proposition, but current subsidies encourage electricity generators to burn virgin wood, which is disastrous for CO2 emissions.
Wood products have the unique ability to store CO2 from the atmosphere. Everything from a wooden garden chair, dining room table and kitchen worktop is a store for CO2 emissions.
The growing forests are carbon sinks, absorbing and storing huge volumes of CO2 from the environment. Then when the wood is processed it locks carbon away for the lifetime of the product. So, we need to use wood, reuse it and recycle it to ensure its potential benefit to the environment is maximised. Then we can burn it for biomass energy.
The total carbon stored in Europe’s wood products is estimated to be 60m t C, the equivalent of 240 million tonnes of CO2 captured from the atmosphere by the trees.
The more wood products replace other materials, the more CO2 is impounded from the atmosphere. That’s why it makes little environmental sense to burn wood for biomass fuel right at the start of its lifecycle.