Why burn wood?

Is it ok to burn wood?

Fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) contain carbon that has been trapped underground for many years, and when they are burned this carbon is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and climate change. Fossil fuels are also limited in supply, with oil production now at or near its all-time peak, after which supplies will inevitably decline.

Wood-fuel is a form of low-carbon energy, because the carbon released when it is burned is not derived from fossil fuels. Instead, it has been has been captured from the atmosphere as CO2 by growing trees, and incorporated in their wood. Therefore, when the wood is burned, the carbon that was removed from the atmosphere is released back into it, ready for other plants to absorb and use in their growth. (needs to be burned in an efficient wood burner?)

Providing woodland is properly managed and wood is only harvested at or below the rate at which it regrows, the supply of wood-fuel can continue forever - a truly sustainable energy supply. Small amounts of carbon emissions are associated with the production and transport of wood-fuel, but these can be minimised by customers only purchasing wood that grew nearby.

As well as reducing CO2 emissions, using local wood-fuel can reduce imports of fossil fuels, so improving the country's energy security. Local employment in forestry and related sectors is supported, and proper management of woodland can yield biodiversity benefits.

By Dr Mike Pepler.

You can read a wood fuel brief by  Dr Mike Pepler from the Ashden Awards on their website. This brief includes: Information on UK energy use and consumption, how wood burns, wood fuel heating technology, storage, handling, types and more!

Phil from Malvern Coppicing comments:

"Firewood production and coppicing are not opposites, but need some thought and planning for a long term reliable supply.

Both coppicing and coppicing with standards are management systems that will produce firewood as a long term sustainable crop. Many of the ASNW’s (ancient semi natural woodlands) have been producing firewood for local people for hundreds of years. Much of the coppicing was ended around the Second World War when many of the local woodlands were clear felled to produce timber for the war effort.

The production of firewood is ideally suited to the many local woodlands with overstood or neglected coppice regimes. In fact I believe it is the way forward to bring many of the local woodlands back into active management."

Further reading:

LC Energy: Why wood fuel.

There are no comments yet - add yours below

This helps to discourage spam