Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions of Alternatives for Woody Biomass Residues

Report for Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA)

Author(s): Lee, C.M. ; Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M. ; Smith, G.
Year: 2011

This report provides a comprehensive accounting of greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions for 15 different ways to use or dispose of woody debris generated through forest practices in the Pacific Northwest.

Along with merchantable timber, forest practices generate large amounts of woody biomass residues. In the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, those residues are most commonly burned on site or left to decay, creating air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

This analysis and the accompanying Woody Biomass Emissions Calculator (WBEC) were commissioned to help regional air managers and decision-makers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska evaluate the emissions implications of different uses and disposal methods.

The report looks at the life-cycle emissions produced by the two common disposal methods as well as 13 alternatives involving use of the residues as a soil amendment, for residential energy, for industrial energy, as industrial feedstock, and for liquid fuel.

The results show that several alternative uses for woody biomass residues would produce fewer GHG, CO and small-particle (PM2.5) emissions than current practices.

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