Technical Note SB23: Sustainability of biomass fuels

Many of the sustainability concerns of sourcing biomass fuels in the northern hemisphere do not arise in New Zealand and Australia.

Biomass is considered a renewable energy source based on the concept that the plant material used can be replaced through re-growth and the carbon dioxide that is emitted from burning the harvested biomass can be absorbed by the new plant growth. Forests and plant crops need to be managed sustainably to provide a continuous fuel source and a system for re-absorbing carbon dioxide that is released through burning.

There are contradicting views about how long it would take before the biomass is replenished and CO2 emissions are absorbed. In 2010 the Manomet study suggested that it would take at least 25 to 50 years for the harvested batch of wood to be replaced by new growth.

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