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Behemoth

Waste wood – the untapped resource for Biomass Fuel

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Waste wood – the untapped resource for Biomass Fuel
The huge potential of reusing waste wood as fuel is being wasted, Environment Minister Joan Ruddock has warned. The significant carbon and energy benefits of recovering energy from waste wood are detailed in a new information report on the sector that surveys the activities of producers, aggregators and users of waste wood.

Recycling and energy markets for clean, virgin wood have been growing in recent years; however waste wood has been a largely overlooked resource. Currently up to 10 million tonnes of waste wood is being produced in the UK each year, most of which goes to landfill.

Joan Ruddock, Minister for Climate Change and Waste, said:

“It has been estimated that recovering energy from 2 million tonnes of waste wood could generate 2600GWh electricity and save 1.15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, with greater benefits available by recovering heat as well as power. This is a huge potential resource that is being wasted.”

With the majority of waste wood arisings being contaminated, the key to realising this potential is more, geographically dispersed, Waste Incineration Directive compliant combustion facilities delivering both energy and heat recovery.

The publication of the Waste Wood Information Report fits well with the intended convergence of energy and waste policy by creating greater awareness of this substantial, indigenous and largely untapped biomass resource available in municipal, construction and demolition and commercial and industrial waste streams. This coincides with the banding of the Renewables Obligation which will significantly increase support for electricity generated from biomass and combined heat and power (CHP).

Notes to editors
Further information is available at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/woodwaste.htm

The carbon and energy benefits from waste wood have been highlighted in a number of recent publications, including the Waste Strategy for England 2007, the UK Biomass Strategy and the Energy White Paper.
Jonnyboy

We use waste wood, the place we get it from used to have tp pay to dispose of it.
vegplot

Jonnyboy wrote:
We use waste wood, the place we get it from used to have tp pay to dispose of it.


As a fuel?
woodsprite

My hubby installs wood pellet boilers and heating systems that use wood pellets made from the waste wood from timber merchants.
(As well as installing wood burners and solar panels, you can't say we're not doing our bit for the cause Very Happy ).
Jonnyboy

vegplot wrote:
Jonnyboy wrote:
We use waste wood, the place we get it from used to have tp pay to dispose of it.


As a fuel?


Yes, they are offcuts from a company that makes roof trusses.
mochyn

Jonnyboy wrote:
vegplot wrote:
Jonnyboy wrote:
We use waste wood, the place we get it from used to have tp pay to dispose of it.


As a fuel?


Yes, they are offcuts from a company that makes roof trusses.


Is that soft wood, JB? Do you find it creates a lot of tar in the chimney?
Jonnyboy

mochyn wrote:

Is that soft wood, JB? Do you find it creates a lot of tar in the chimney?


Nope, I thought it might but it's well dried and burns cleanly with little ash.

Only problem is that sometimes it burns too fast.
dougal

Strange that this should crop up on the same day that one of my eBay searches should throw up a rather unusual Biomass (sawdust) greenhouse heater.
Its collection only...
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220222348496
gnome

there are problems with waste wood that the figures don't reflect. due to toxic contaminants, you can't use chipboard, or plywood as fuel. our local recycling centre will take other kinds of wood for use as fuel - but they charge to take it. as a fuel, it is so poor that it's value is below the cost of transportation.

we looked into the viability of getting a large wood burning stove to heat our water and workshops, but nothing we could afford was large enough - and we still have the problem that the vast majority of waste wood we collect cannot be used this way.

it's not just a matter of what you can burn, but what is legal. and to be honest, if we are serious about the environment, we don't want to create yet more air pollution.

the sensible solution to the bad wood problem is not to look for a way to use it - but to stop creating the waste in the first place. it is time for MDF, chipboard, and plywood to be banned. there are no words to describe the contempt i have for chipboard furniture.
Treacodactyl

Yes there is all sorts of 'waste' wood. One of our local tips collects prime untreated whole wood and that, in theory, is recycled into other wood products. In practice I expect it's landfilled as the tip is poorly run and the wood is contaminated with stuff they don't want. (Yes, I have contacted the council to try and sort it out). Treated wood such as old fencing or chipboard etc is just sent to landfill and even logs that are too large to go in the green-waste skip and landfilled here. There's room for using some of the waste wood for burning here, although they don't seem to be able to cope with what they currently do.
gnome

we seriously considered starting a wood recycling project - but after going to a few conferences and talking to other wood recyclers we realised what a non-starter it was. leftover wood from construction sites is the only waste wood that has any real use or value, and there is very little of that in our area. you can't build a solid front door out of a dozen chair legs, so wood from domestic furniture has very limited use. as stated earlier - you can't use most modern furniture as fuel because of the contaminants, and to be honest old fashioned furniture made from proper wood, with nice dovetail joints is usually too good to burn - we re-use that as furniture because it was built to last

it says something about our modern society, that a seventy year old wardrobe is still a usable piece of furniture, whilst a five year old flat-pack wardrobe is nothing but unusable waste.

the amount of wood we could collect in our area would not generate enough income to sustain the project - and that is the sad reality of a lot of otherwise good recycling ideas.
JB

gnome wrote:
... it says something about our modern society, that a seventy year old wardrobe is still a usable piece of furniture, whilst a five year old flat-pack wardrobe is nothing but unusable waste ...


To be fair though that is a selective sample. The Victorians / Edwardians / whoever did make cheap naff furniture; but a century on it's only the good stuff that's still around.
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