Wood energy

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bois energie pour le monde avenir demain le bois

Wood accounts for 10% of world primary energy consumption but this is relatively little. Because, if it is exploited sustainably, – the opposite of what takes place during deforestation – unlike fossil fuel, wood is a renewable resource that does not contribute to global warming.

It is all a matter of rhythm. A forest is mainly made up of standing carbon that renews itself as trees and other vegetation grow (they trap CO2) and die (they release CO2). When the forest matures, the life and death cycle is balanced. If wood is cut down and burnt, the CO2 that is released is compensated for by the growth of other trees. Thus, burning wood from forests managed sustainably is carbon neutral.

Unlike in the rest of the world, European and North American forest cover has been increasing for several decades. European forests thus grow by 764 million m3 a year. Yet, only 60% of this is used. This sector therefore has a high development potential.

Even though it is overlooked in developed countries, wood has several advantages. It is produced locally at little cost and provides jobs in rural areas. It increases energy independence. It can be used to produce heat, electricity and fuel for transport or biomaterials (that can be recycled and turned into energy once used). Wood can be used in classic shapes (logs, granules) or turned into gas or petrol.

However, burning wood emits many atmospheric pollutants that are dangerous to health if used domestically: soot particles, dioxins, furan, PCBs, benzene and lead. This problem must be considered if the sector is to develop.

Abrams.

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