Conference news

The Energy Boom You Haven't Heard About: Wood Pellets

The Energy Boom You Haven't Heard About: Wood Pellets

It's feeding Europe's energy needs, but how green is burning wood?

wood pellets 2

Deep in the forests of the U.S. South, tree scraps are fueling a little-known but controversial energy boom: wood pellets. Long used to heat homes in the country's Northeast, they're now destined for a new market.
Europe is importing the pellets in ever higher volumes, burning them for electricity to meet renewable energy targets, prompting a doubling of biomass exports last year. More than half of the exports go to the United Kingdom.
The pellet boom is not without controversy: the pellet industry says it's using wood by-products that would otherwise go to waste. Critics say the expansion hurts forests and does not help the climate.
Unlike fossil fuels such as coal and oil, wood is a renewable fuel: Where one tree goes down, another can grow. As a weapon against climate change, however, harvesting mass quantities of forest and shipping them across the Atlantic has drawn skepticism.
By Christina Nunez in National Geographic (DECEMBER 8, 2014)

To continue reading: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/12/141208-wood-pellet-energy-boom-driven-by-exports/