Letter: Branding biomass as renewable is misleading – Financial Times

Your report “Brussels aims to tighten rules on burning wood pellets as green fuel” (June 17) raises an overlooked issue. It is easy to see “biomass” as renewable when it is branded as such but the production of some woodchip and other biomass pellets, sometimes made from waste, relies on a very energy intensive extrusion process to compress the pellets.

Crucially, on a domestic scale, many people have installed biomass boilers to burn wood chips to generate heat for their homes. In essence all we are doing here is burning fuel and releasing the carbon. Indeed we are now using more energy to compress it into pellets before we burn it. Heat and power are generated far more cleanly using anaerobic digestion, and the end outputs of hot water, electricity, CO2 and organic fertiliser are all easily segregated and used. The government should look to follow the EU example and discourage biomass-based energy production in favour of wind, solar and anaerobic digestion.

Abigail MacCartney
Managing Director, LiveLab
Oakham, Rutland, UK

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