Is woodburning good for the environment?

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Blog, Our work, Whats new? | 0 comments

Is woodburning good for the environment?

Like a living sunlight-battery.

One pound of dry wood releases about  8,600 btu’s of energy when burned. Gasoline
is only about twice as concentrated. It took a long time for the tree to grow. The daily
amount of sunlight was captured and changed into chemical energy. In fact, trees
are very much like batteries, storing energy. Wood is like a battery that has been storing
energy for decades. The energy is concentrated and ready for use at any rate, depend-
ing on need. Also, this “battery” does not lose its charge while sitting, cannot spill acid on
your pants, and usually smells good!

Burning wood or any biomass also has a great advantage over burning petroleum products. Trees absorb carbon dioxide while growing and release the same amount when burned. The tree reduces the amount of C02 in the atmosphere and then replaces it. Burning fossil fuels, made from plants millions of years old, can only increase the amount of atmospheric C02, since absorption done by
the plants happened so long ago. Burning biomass does not increase the amount of C02
in the atmosphere in the same way that burning petroleum can.

What about deforestation?

Deforestation due in part to fuel needs
represents a major threat to ecosystems in
many developing countries. Obviously, the
answer to threatened forests is to grow trees
at a faster rate than forest products are con-
sumed. Wood can then be used at a sustain-
able rate, where less is taken than produced.
Taking a greater amount insures a diminished
resource and, if the trend continues, an even-
tual loss. Many countries in the world will
run out of wood, long before they run out of
gasoline and oil! (But eventually oil will be out aswell)

 Cook your food on growing trees

 If you’ve got it, in rural areas wood is a
powerful, convenient source of fuel.
By using wood efficiently, people can cook
food using branches and twigs instead of split
logs. Gathering fallen branches can bring
people firewood without killing the trees, if
the rate of use matches the resource. The
branches are already a handy size so people
can be spared the labor of splitting logs as
well. The trees continue to grow while people
cook with wood.

This text is manly extracted from the book “Capturing HEAT” by Dean Still and Jim Kness

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