National Timber Product Stewardship Group

--- Renewable Energy ---

Wood & Renewable Energy

Wood is one of the oldest sources of energy known to man, and till date, its role as a source of renewable energy cannot be overemphasised. Across the globe, it is accountable for providing not less than 6% of the world’s primary energy.

Wood waste is used as a source of energy in several ways by burning the wood. The wood waste is used as a form of fuel, and it has been said to be the number one solid fuel biomass.  When wood waste is burnt, they release chemical energy as a result of the heating process.

This fuel can be used in both commercial and domestic settings either independently or by combining it with another fuel. You can use it to drive an electric-powered generator, for raising steam for heat generation, it can also be used to create a synthesis gas which is also called syn-gas, etc.

When you intend to use wood as a source of energy, it is advisable that you use a wood waste which is of low value. This implies that it is best that you use wood products that are beyond recyclability and cannot be reused.  This is put in place to follow the waste hierarchy.

Some of the ways you can use wood waste as a source of energy include:

Wood Pellets and Other Heaps of Wood Waste

Wood pallets and sawdust, wood shavings, wood chips are one of the cheapest ways of reducing biomass into fuel. The likes of sawdust are difficult to handle because they do not easily bind together. However, they can be compressed into a more solid form. The pallet has been said to be one of the most effective means of creating domestic fuel. You can also make easy money by selling your used pallets. There are markets for wood pallets in Australia since it is one of the major sources of domestic heaters.

Independent Biomass Power Station

Various wood wastes such as forest residues, leftover timber, garden compost can be used as independent biomass power stations. You can use them for combustion equipment and advance technological equipment power stations which can be easily powered by wood waste.

Co-firing Power Station

The bulk of the power stations in Australia are powered by coal. However, in recent times, there are many power stations powered by wood waste, especially timber residues. This improvement is due to compulsory Renewable Energy Target in Australia, which ensures the use of wood waste as a means of fuel.

Cogeneration

This is the use of other material in combination with wood waste. For instance, some companies who are into sugar manufacturing can also add to their energy generation dry sugarcane source as a means of fuel. These materials are combined with wood waste to generate electricity.  

Cofiring in Cement Kilns

In Australia, you can use natural gas or coal. However, wood waste can also suffice as an alternative source of fuel.

Wood waste will remain one of the most economical means of fuel in as much as there continues to be wood production.