The potential benefits of using waste wood as a biomass fuel are being overlooked according to a Government report.
Markets for virgin wood have grown but waste wood use has not. Research found that this was because it often arises as part of a mixed waste stream, with limited availability of facilities for its segregation. Contamination is another issue, which often makes recycling impractical.
However, it has been estimated that recovering energy from 2 million tonnes of waste wood would generate 2600GWh electricity and save 1.15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
To harness this potential the report suggests an increase in facilities compliant with the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) is needed.
Further growth lies in strengthening the measures to divert waste from landfill, which for waste wood means diverting it to renewable energy markets. The Government expects aggregation points and supply chains for the material to grow as market knowledge improves. Incentives to use wood as a renewable energy are also supported through the Governments plans to band
Renewable Obligations, which was announced in the May 2007 Waste Strategy. Another boost will come from increases in WID complaint combustion facilities spread across a wider geographical area.
However, even more will need to be done to meet the UK share of the EU renewables target. But more growth could come from the Heat Call for Evidence and the work for the future UK Renewable Energy Strategy for 2009.