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ŠUMARSKI LIST 5-6/2001 str. 52     <-- 52 -->        PDF

SUMMARY: Internationally adopted need to control and reduce greenhouse

gas emissions has brought new life into biomass, the world´s oldest energy

source used by man. Biomass utilisation in energy recovery, except for the cases

of the felling of forests not scheduled for reforestation, does not contribute to an

increase in greenhouse gas emissions and could be considered C02 neutral.

Biomass is an important energy source for developing countries, and its share

in energy production in developed countries is recently constantly increasing,

somewhere even accounting for a considerable portion of total primary energy


ARBRE s plant at Eggborough is a demonstration of biomass gasification

technology, the first of its type in Europe. In the future, plants of this type can

make a significant contribution to the United Kingdom s energy supply and help

in meeting commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gases. Growing con

cerns over the impact of mans´ activities on the globed climate are driving the

development of renewable energy sources. Under the Kyoto Climate Change

Protocol, recently signed in New York, the European Union is committed to

reducing emissions of a basket of Greenhouse Gases (most importantly carbon

dioxide) to 8 % below 1990 levels by 2008 -2012. The UK Government´s own

target, irrespective of EU commitments, is for a reduction in carbon dioxide

emissions to 20 % below 1990 levels by 2010. Energy generation using fossil

fuels is a major source of greenhouse gases and of other pollutants. Renewable

energy sources provide a cleaner alternative.

The ARBRE plant will generate 10 MW of electricity from wood chips provided
from forest and coppice sources. State of the art technology will be used
to generate electricity - the wood is converted into a gas which fuels a high efficiency
combined cycle generating process. Wood fuels are clean, renewable
and can be produced in a sustainable manner. They are carbon dioxide neutral,
because the carbon dioxide released when the fuel is used is equal to the carbon
dioxide taken up during growth. As wood is a natural material free from harmful
chemicals, its use as a fuel in this way poses no threat to the environment.

The fuel sources are:

Short Rotation Coppice - Short rotation coppice consists primarily of densely
planted willow shrubs harvested on a three year cycle. The root stock is left
in the ground and after each harvest new shoots emerge, as in a traditional

Forestry Sources -materials derived from forest and woodland management.
The United Kingdom currently has the lowest proportion of energy production
from renewable sources of any European Union member state. Overall the
European Union plans to double the use of renewable energy sources from 6 %
to 12 % by 2010. In the short term the United Kingdom has a target of 1500 MW
(approximately 2 % of current capacity) of renewable electricity by the year
2000, but more will need to be done to reach the European Union´s renewable
energy target and the UK´s own carbon dioxide target. Studies carried out by
the Department of Trade and Industry have shown that biomass can make a
substantial contribution to both the United Kingdom s and the European
Union´s energy needs. ARBRE is a significant step in this direction.

Energy crops offer an exciting new commercial opportunity for farmers and
growers. Short rotation coppice production allows diversification of land usage
and offers substantial environmental benefits compared to intensive arable

farming. These include reduced use of agrochemicals and greater ecological

and landscape diversity. ARBRE is bringing the benefits that can be gained

from the sustainable use of wood fuels one step closer.

Key words: biomass, power plant, short rotation crops, greenhouse

Šumarski list br. S 6. CXXV (2001), 283-290