MIT professor says biomass-based power worse than coal for the environment

January 29, 2018 |

In Massachusetts, a new report from MIT Sloan professor John Sterman supports the growing argument that burning wood pellets for power is worse for the climate than burning coal, because of the short-term effects and the “potentially irreversible impacts that may arise before the long-run benefits are realized.”

“Because combustion and processing efficiencies for wood are less than coal, the immediate impact of substituting wood for coal is an increase in atmospheric (carbon dioxide) relative to coal,” the report stated. “The payback time for this carbon debt ranges from 44-104 years after clear-cut, depending on forest type—assuming the land remains forest.”

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Category: Research

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