Forest Carbon Dynamic – Positive and Negative perspectives on the use of Biomass Energy to replace Fossil Fuel

University essay from Mittuniversitetet/Avdelningen för ekoteknik och hållbart byggande

Abstract: From 1970 to 2010, circa 78% of the Greenhouse gases emissions came from the emissions of CO2 derived from industrial processes and fossil fuel combustion. The fossil energy resources (coal, oil and natural gas) increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing diverse changes related to global warming. Despite policies adopted to mitigate the climate change, global warming is not decreased. This literature review will analyze and investigate the use of forest biomass to replace fossil fuel energy and how it can affect climate change. This study used secondary data to identify the main perspectives in the use of forest biomass to produce energy. The policies at the global, regional and national level are also described. How the national level is influenced by the international and regional level and how the policies match with the current knowledge on the theme. The results showed that the use of forest biomass was better to replace coal than natural gas or oil, due to the payback time. The use of old-growth forests or natural forest increases the time to the released emissions to be offset. Residues showed to have faster payback time than other forest biomass, as well as, the use of this biomass avoid cut down trees. However, the use of residues can cause serious impacts, as biodiversity loss. The conclusion was that the use of biomass will increase the CO2 emissions, whether all emissions are included. Despite the payback time is faster to forest biomass than fossil fuel, biomass is not a good alternative to replace fossil fuel energy. Because of the combustion efficiency of biomass is less than fossil fuel to produce the same amount the energy. Regarding the policies, there are contradictions between the international and regional level about the use of forests. As also, regional level has contradictions in their criteria that should be avoided. If the forest biomass has to be use, this study recommended the use of residues.

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