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Energy at a Glance: Biomass

August 4, 2022

Although it may make sense to get as much use out of timber scraps and garbage as possible, growing trees with the intent of using them strictly for densified biomass fuel does not make sense over the short- or long-term.

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Quick Bullets:

In 2021, biomass provided 5 percent of total primary energy use in the United States, with 2.1 percent of annual total energy consumption coming from wood-based biomass fuel.

Quality wood pellets with low moisture content have only about half as much energy content as an equivalent amount of coal (by mass).

Biomass power plants emit 50 to 85 percent more carbon dioxide than modern coal plants, and more than three times as much carbon dioxide as natural gas-fueled power plants.

Bioenergy currently constitutes 10 percent of the world’s total energy supply.

It can take 44 to 104 years to offset carbon dioxide emissions from burning biomass.

Read the PDF for the full report!

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Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy.