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Contributing to a low carbon economy

by Ellen Cools

Wood pellets, and biomass fuel sources more generally, are  part  of  the climate change solution as we transition away from fossil fuels.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the  world’s  leading  authority  on  climate  change,  has  recognized the significant GHG mitigation potential of biomass – as much as 80 to 90% – provided that it is developed sustainably and used efficiently.[1]

Canadian wood pellet producers are committed to supplying global customers with responsible green energy product. Delivering on that commitment requires transparency, including demonstrating the environmental credentials of our energy products with science and data.

Recently, WPAC members undertook a rigorous analysis of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions along the entire supply chain – from production in Canada through to delivery in Japan – and compared with similar analysis for pellets produced in the Southern United States as well as coal. Data came from third party audited GHG reports.

In total, data from 17 Western Canadian pellet plants were collected and analyzed, and compared to other fuel sources. The analysis calculated emissions for all three fuel sources related to:

  • Extraction and cultivation of raw materials,
  • Processing,
  • Transportation across the entire supply chain to customer, and
  • Fuel in use (utility).

The results showed that wood pellets fired in Japan produced only 8.37% of the GHG emissions produced by coal (more than a 91% reduction), while wood pellets from the Southern US State of Alabama produced 20.08% of the emissions produced by coal (nearly an 80% reduction).

Western Canadian pellets offer a transportation advantage to other jurisdiction, with the shorted sea transportation route from North America to Asia. Wood pellets offer demonstrable climate benefits compared to fossil fuels, particularly coal, and have an important role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Watch the presentation

Verifying Sustainability End-To-End: First of its Kind Confirms Canadian Pellets Produce 91% Less GHGs Than Coal