In a series of reports to be presented at a major conference this week, scientists at The University of Manchester claim using sustainable wood and other biofuels could hold the key to lowering harmful greenhouse gases.
Building district heating schemes which would provide heat and hot water for a neighbourhood or community would not only drastically reduce greenhouse gases but would also be highly cost effective, the authors claim.
Focus groups to test the UK public’s eagerness for such schemes have already been held and have resulted in the majority of people being in favour of the localised centres.
The plans would only provide cost savings if the heat demand is very steady. Otherwise large scale dedicated electricity plants become the most cost effective way to save greenhouse gases with biomass, with costs per unit of carbon saved around half that of a smaller facility.
The reports state that using wood in UK power stations gave greenhouse gas reductions of over 84% and even higher savings of 94% were possible for heating schemes.
Prepared by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to highlight the effectiveness of using sustainable fuels rather than rely on fossil fuels, the series of reports will be presented this week at the UK’s first bio conference – BioTen – which begins in Birmingham today (Tuesday 21st).
Author Dr Patricia Thornley suggests using a number of supply chains, including imported forest residues and local grown energy crops, would reduce emissions and save on fossil fuels.
The key is that biomass must be grown sustainably, taking into account potential for damage to the environment or undesirable socio-economic impacts.
Previous work by University of Manchester researchers took this into account in concluding that sustainable biomass could supply at least 4.9% of the UK’s total energy demand.
Realising that potential could result in savings of 18 Mt of carbon dioxide every year, which is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with around 2.7 million households.
Dr Patricia Thornley, from the School of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester, said: “Bioenergy could play a very important part in helping the UK meet greenhouse gas reduction targets that will help to reduce the impact of climate change.
“Heating homes with wood reduces greenhouse gas emissions because plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide when they are growing and then re-release it when they are burnt for heating – so the only increase in greenhouse gas emissions are those involved in things like harvesting and processing the fuel.
“This work has taken a detailed look at all those emissions and established that even when we take them into account, there are still huge greenhouse gas savings to be made.
“If we can combine the low-carbon wood with really efficient heating systems, that offers an efficient and cost-effective route to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.
“The challenge for the industry now is to concentrate on developing new efficient and cost-effective technologies for biofuel production and to concentrate on getting the heating technologies deployed in the right environment.”Notes for editors
The Tyndall Centre, created in 2000, is a distributed national centre for research into climate change mitigation and adaptation, with Manchester leading on decarbonisation of energy systems and long-term coastal processes.
For media enquiries contactDaniel Cochlin
Daniel Cochlin | EurekAlert!
Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences