Wood Pellets: Green Energy or
New Source of CO2 Emissions?

Burning wood pellets to produce electricity is on the rise in the U.K. and Europe, where the pellets are classified as a form of renewable energy. But in the U.S., where pellet facilities are rapidly being built in the Southeast, concerns are growing about logging hardwood forests and the carbon released by the combustion of wood biomass. READ MORE

 

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Wetland hardwood forests near Enviva's Ahoskie, N.C., plant are shown in orange. Industry officials say that manufacturing and burning wood pellets for electricity is carbon-neutral, since the pellet plants primarily use waste wood such as tree branches. But scientists and conservationists say that Enviva and other companies are increasingly using whole trees to manufacture wood pellets, which significantly increases the process's carbon footprint. Environmental groups say that the wetland hardwood forests around the Enviva plant are increasingly being felled, with more than 168,000 acres of nearby woodlands at high risk of being cut down for manufacturing wood pellets at the Ahoskie facility. (Credit: NRDC/Dogwood Alliance)

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