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AGED CARBON vs. CONTEMPORARY CARBON AND THE ROLE OF BIOMASS

By Roundwood Energy  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

Carbon Neutral Technology from Roundwood Energy

Carbon Neutral Technology from Roundwood Energy

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In recent years we

have heavily relied on fossil fuels for our energy and this has contributed to

elevated levels of carbon in the atmosphere. 

The Carbon Cycle

The Carbon Cycle plays

an important role in regulating the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.  All living things contain a certain amount of

carbon.  Through decay this is released

into the ground and is compressed over millions of years to produce fossil

fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. 

Through burning, the carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon

dioxide (CO2).  High levels of carbon dioxide

in the atmosphere can have a detrimental effect on the earth's processes; from

extreme weather conditions to global warming.  Plants however, use carbon dioxide in their

processes, storing carbon and producing oxygen, thus removing carbon dioxide

from the atmosphere for a period of time. 

Once they decay or are burnt the carbon dioxide is re-released.

 

Aged carbon Vs contemporary carbon

Fossil fuels are formed

through millions of years of intense pressure and therefore provide a high

density fuel.  When burnt they release aged

carbon back into the atmosphere that was originally absorbed millions of years

ago, thus contributing to increased carbon levels.

 

Contemporary carbon

exists in growing plants and during combustion is released back into the

atmosphere.  If this process is

sustainably managed by coppicing and re-planting, we can create a continuous

source of renewable fuel, whilst ensuring that atmospheric levels of CO2 do not

increase.  Of course this will only work

if we cease to burn fossil fuels and keep aged carbon locked away.

 

Government carbon targets

In 2008 the government

introduced carbon

budgets as part of the Climate Change Act in a bid to reduce

greenhouse gasses in the UK by at least 80% by 2050.  The government have set out a number of

actions in order to meet these targets.

 

e.g.

·        

Guidance on how to use energy more

efficiently

·        

How to reduce the demand for energy

·        

Introduction of smart meters to enable

people to be more aware of their energy consumption

·        

The green deal facilitates improvements

to the energy efficiency of properties

·        

Increase the attractiveness of renewable

fuel

·        

Publicly reporting carbon emissions from

businesses and the public sector

 

They have also

invested in low carbon technologies such as biomass.

 

Why biomass?

Wood biomass energy

comes from growing plants.  If we burn

wood from well managed woodlands then the carbon released during combustion is

re-absorbed simultaneously by existing trees and seedlings, removing the carbon

from the atmosphere.  This is where the

term "Carbon Neutral" is derived.  In

fact, wood biomass is a "Low Carbon" renewable technology.

 

For more information

on biomass sustainability see the Biomass Energy Centre.

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