Not carbon neutral: Assessing the net emissions impact of residues burned for bioenergy

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Not carbon neutral: Assessing the net emissions impact of residues burned for bioenergy
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Climate mitigation requires emissions to peak then decline within two decades, but many mitigation models include 100 EJ or more of bioenergy, ignoring emissions from biomass oxidation. Treatment of bioenergy as 'low carbon' or carbon neutral often assumes fuels are agricultural or forestry residues that will decompose and emit CO2 if not burned for energy. However, for 'low carbon' assumptions about residues to be reasonable, two conditions must be met: biomass must genuinely be material left over from some other process; and cumulative net emissions, the additional CO2 emitted by burning biomass compared to its alternative fate, must be low or negligible in a timeframe meaningful for climate mitigation. This study assesses biomass use and net emissions from the US bioenergy and wood pellet manufacturing sectors. It defines the ratio of cumulative net emissions to combustion, manufacturing and transport emissions as the net emissions impact (NEI), and evaluates the NEI at year 10 and beyond for a variety of scenarios. The analysis indicates the US industrial bioenergy sector mostly burns black liquor and has an NEI of 20% at year 10, while the NEI for plants burning forest residues ranges from 41%–95%. Wood pellets have a NEI of 55%–79% at year 10, with net CO2 emissions of 14–20 tonnes for every tonne of pellets; by year 40, the NEI is 26%–54%. Net emissions may be ten times higher at year 40 if whole trees are harvested for feedstock. Projected global pellet use would generate around 1% of world bioenergy with cumulative net emissions of 2 Gt of CO2 by 2050. Using the NEI to weight biogenic CO2 for inclusion in carbon trading programs and to qualify bioenergy for renewable energy subsidies would reduce emissions more effectively than the current assumption of carbon neutrality.

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climate scientists tell us that meeting the Goals of Paris agreement requires the amount of C O 2 in the atmosphere to peak
between 2020 and 2030 and then declined restoring an expanding forests is the best hope for taking carbon out of the
atmosphere the forest would is increasingly harvested and burned for bioenergy which
adds carbon to the atmosphere many climate mitigation models anticipate large increases in biology in part because models along with carbon trading in renewable
energy programs tree biomass as instantaneously carbon neutral some policies fuels are sourced from forestry
wood industry and agricultural residues that
would emit C O 2 through decomposition and or incineration if not for energy however
since biology facilities generally emit more C O 2 per unit energy the fossil fuel
facilities at least 2 conditions must be met for residents have low and missions
1st biomass must actually be residents for forest would this mostly means tops and limbs from timber harvesting fourth-innings that would be left to decompose if not burned for energy 2nd cumulative
net emissions the additional C O 2 emitted by burning biomass compared little-traded fate must be low or negligible in a timeframe meaningful for
climate mitigation given climate modeling projections and the essentially irreversible warming effects already under way this study assumes a meaningful time frame is the next 10 to 20 years the study
examines net emissions from 3 main biology sectors Louis industrial
new wood-burning power plants recently built in the the last and the U.S. wood-pellet
industry which ships pellets overseas as a replacement for call the model
calculates net biology C O 2 emissions as direct emissions of C O 2 emitted by manufacturing transporting and combusting biomass minus alternative the emissions the study proposes a new metric the net emissions impact or any I which is the ratio of net emissions to direct emissions the NEI represents a percentage of direct emissions the contributes to atmospheric carbon loading
outcomes of the study were as follows the US industrial biology sector still mostly burns waste from pulp and paper manufacturing thus the model finds a relatively low any I of 20 per cent a year 10 assuming the alternative fate from mill residues is incineration without energy recovery however the
new plants burning forestry residues the NEI is at least 40 per cent and as high as 95 per cent a year 10 meaning of every 10 tons of direct emissions 4 to 9 comma decimal 5 times contribute to net atmospheric loading the model underestimates net
emissions from wood pellets because as industry data and visual evidence show pellet manufacturing uses round would rather than residues for a large proportion of feedstock for pellets that are made from
residues of facility this started burning pellets in 2010 will still have an any I of 55 per cent to 79 per cent in 2020 and net emissions of 14 to 20 tons of C O 2 emitted for each time appellate capacity by 2035 cumulative net emissions are 21 to 40 tons of C O 2 per ton appellate capacity a significant proportion is C O 2 from fossil fuels consumed during pellet manufacturing and transport climate
models renewable energy policies and carbon trading programs in the US and EU erroneously treat biomass source residues as carbon neutral using the
any I'd estimate net emissions would more accurately reflect biology impacts on atmospheric carbon loading in the period critical
for achieving pairs accord Goals