As nations search for renewable resources to meet their  energy goals, burning wood pellets which many have touted as a “clean form of  energy” may not be the way to achieve them. One Texan home owner moved in  2014 close by to the German Pellets manufacturing plant. At first, there were  no complaints about the plant it remained quiet and peaceful, but then the  home owner began to have multiple respiratory problems and developed asthma.  Since the production ceased in 2016 and the company frilled for insolvency  2016, the owner has noticed an improvement in their health and a difference  in the air quality.

Though, it cannot directly link the plant to the decline  in their health. Industry has pushed the burning of forest biomass as a clean  alternative to coal and gas. The export volumes of wood pellets have  increased from almost nothing in the early 2000s to 4.6 million tons of  pellets in 2015. Most go to European countries trying to find alternatives to  the coal power plants.

Wood pellets industries claim their products come from  tree branches and waste wood, but that has been disproven by environmental  groups. The groups discovered that the wood for pellets have come from  untouched forests. The issue with burning wood as UK-based researchers have  discovered is whenever an older tree is burned, it releases abundant amounts  of carbon, and forest are not always replanted after being cut. Also, it can  take up to 100 years for a replanted forest to absorb as much carbon as its  predecessors. The shipping of the pellets to the UK emits a significant  amount of emissions.

Biogeochemist suggest wood burning, if managed and  certified properly, could be used as a bridge between coal and gas usage to  renewable resources to solar and wind, as it does produce less emissions than  coal. Burning younger trees and replacing them produces less emissions and is  more sustainable than going after larger and older trees. Recently, the head  administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency announced that the  burning of wood pellet could be classified as a renewable energy resource,  despite its own scientific board still working on the environmental impact of  burning wood to generate energy.

The Guardian