Wood, green or not?
The debate often comes up when it comes to wood energy: is it really an economical solution or, on the contrary, devastating for the environment? In order to provide you with clear answers on this subject, discover the main arguments in favor of this resource, as well as those against it.
Wood, an ecological resource…
There are many reasons for saying that wood energy is an ecological resource. Here are the main arguments that support this claim.
A neutral carbon footprint
A tree proceeds, naturally, to the phenomenon of photosynthesis. It absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and releases oxygen. This quantity absorbed is equivalent to that released at the time of its combustion, when it is transformed into firewood. It is for this reason that its carbon footprint is considered neutral.
A renewable resource
The forest renews itself rapidly. Awareness campaigns encourage citizens to carry out reforestation in order to preserve forests, especially where a large number of trees are cut down to be used as firewood. This is the fastest renewing resource. Indeed, it takes a maximum of 200 years for a forest to renew itself, while coal can take up to 300 million years and oil can take up to 450 million years.
Very little waste
Wood is one of the materials that most respects the zero waste policy. Indeed, thanks to the different forms of wood energy, each part of the tree can be used as fuel. Solid wood is used as logs, while chips, offcuts and dried up foliage are compressed and turned into pellets.
…but with a few things to consider
However, these few points must be taken into account if you want to guarantee that the wood is truly ecological.
Choose the type of wood to use as fuel
Not all trees are suitable for use as firewood. Indeed, resinous gasolines tend to produce more residues during combustion. On the other hand, hard deciduous species such as oak, beech or hornbeam are more suitable. A large amount of residue would go against the ecological aspect of the wood.
A level of drying to respect
In order to be an efficient fuel, the wood must dry well, with a minimum moisture content. If this rate exceeds 20% when the wood is used, it will release harmful particles into the air. In this case, the wood will no longer be considered ecological.
An operation to master
Finally, it is necessary to know how to control logging and avoid intensive cutting. Trees play an important role on the climate of a region, as well as on the preservation of the quality of the soil, the fauna and the local flora. Excessive exploitation of a forest accelerates environmental degradation. Specific criteria on the number of trees to be felled per year, the age and size of the trees to be felled, as well as the frequency of reforestation in the region must be respected to ensure the renewal of the forest.
In the end, wood is an ecological resource and could represent the future of renewable energies. However, measures must be respected to preserve this balance and this could represent the greatest challenge for humans.