You are here

Burning Wood Pellets - CO2 Emissions Reduction

Wood pellets are recognised as one of the best sources of sustainable, eco-friendly fuel available. In comparison to the likes of oil and gas, wood pellets are pure, sustainable, and emit considerably less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

How are wood pellets better for the environment?

Wood pellet fuel is considered to be carbon neutral. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during their lifecycle. When the plant is burned, the same amount of carbon dioxide is then released back into the atmosphere. The cycle then begins again when the replacement plants begin to grow.

 

Carbon Cycle

 

How much carbon dioxide is produced in comparison with other heating fuels?

Including manufacturing and transportation costs, it is estimated that burning wood pellets produces 34g carbon dioxide per KiloWatt Hour of heat produced (g/kWh).

Carbon Dioxide Emission Reduction Graph

Adapted from “The Carbon Balance of Woodfuel”, Northern Woodheat, 2010.


The process of manufacturing wood pellets is comparatively simple, as it is essentially the compression of sawdust into a pellet. This requires little energy in manufacturing terms and emits minimal carbon dioxide when compared with processes such as oil refining.

With the increase in popularity of wood pellets over recent years it has become necessary to import quantities of wood pellet fuel into the country. Even taking into account the additional transport in this process the amount of embedded carbon dioxide in imported wood pellets is minimal compared to all other popular fuel types – even including locally sourced wood chip.

The newly introduced BSL (Biomass Suppliers List) standards ensure that wood pellets produce two thirds less CO₂ than fossil fuels.

*Carbon Dioxide emissions are measured in grams per kilowatt hour of heat produced (g/kWh). This is a standard measurement and allows us to compare carbon dioxide emissions when burning different fuel types such as wood pellets, oil, or liquid petroleum gas (LPG).