Archive for January, 2018

Fatal bio-energy decisions

January 22, 2018

Several times in the past I wrote on this blog about the problems of burning wood and of presenting this type of energy use as environmentally friendly and moral. The very EU friendly website Euractiv has a damning article in its Jan.8 2018 edition titled “The EU’s bioenergy policy isn’t just damaging the climate and forests, it’s killing people“.

Here is picture showing the fine particle emissions from different types of wood burning (link):

Compared to oil and gas burning, wood is a dirty, often even extremely dirty energy. An important part of EU’s bioenergy is wood, and the political Zeitgeist was to shift fossil fuel burning power stations to wood, like the infamous UK Drax power station, which burned 6 million tons of wood pellets in 2015. Estimations say that by burning wood this station emits 12% more CO2 than if it had  burned coal (link to picture):

The Euractiv article cites a study by Sigsgaard that estimates 40000 premature deaths caused every year in the EU by biomass pollution. Well, I am not a fan of these statistics, but it is clear that fine particle emissions by open wood fires are huge compared to those of the lamented Diesel cars. Curiously, a group of scientists published an article the 15th January 2018 in Euractiv pushing the need to increase biomass burning. Titled “Bioenergy at the centre of EU renewable energy policy” the 63 authors (yes: 63!) candidly write that “With regards to air quality, it is very difficult to identify the impacts of bioenergy combustion in isolation”. This is an absolute nonsense, as fine particle emissions from wood burning can be measured and compared to other sources, what has been done in many research papers.

The irony of the whole biomass problem is that bio-energy has been promoted by the “Über-greens” as one of the climate-saving politics; ill reflected and hastily promoted, this bioenergy now raises its ugly head and makes the ordinary citizen wonder if “expert advice” (like that of the 63 authors) really should be relied upon…