Information Sheet 48: GHG reduction using wood energy

Reducing GHG emissions to achieve "zero carbon by 2050" using biomass energy for industrial and commercial heat

Targets:  Proposed targets for the substitution of coal and gas fuels with wood fuels (above 2018 levels) based on a Transformational scenario are:
2030       8 PJ/year
2040       17 PJ/year
2050       20 PJ/year

By 2050 this equates to:

  • Converting around 34MW/year of existing boiler plant to use wood fuels
  • Adding around 90,000 tonnes of wood fuel/year
  • 1.8Mt/year CO2 eq emissions being avoided
  • Cumulative savings of $4.5 billion in avoided cost of carbon at $50/t from other sources over the period to 2050 (most likely international markets)

It is not unexpected that biomass is the most used renewable resource for production of energy[1] as it occurs nearly anywhere and more can always be planted. Biomass as a fuel is storable and can be transported to where it is needed. Hydro electricity is the only other renewable resource that has these attributes. Geothermal energy is location specific. Solar and wind energy is viable and are not storable.

Production of heat from combustion of biomass uses proven technologies.

The secret for maximising the use of biomass as a source of energy is in how the biomass supply chain is developed and managed. To manage risks around the use of biomass for heating the users of biomass as fuel require reliable consistent supply.

Maximising the opportunities for transitioning from use of fossil fuels for heat requires building confidence in the biomass supply market. This is no different than development of any market.  

 

[1] 13% of total world energy demand. REN21 Renewables 2018, Global Status report.

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