Burning Woody Biomass Damages Climate System: New ResearchWASHINGTON - Burning of woody biomass, whether in boilers, kilns or from forest fires, is more damaging to the atmosphere than originally thought. So claims the 232-page research study by 31 authors, “Bounding the Role of Black Carbon in the Climate System: A Scientific Assessment,” published recently by the American Geophysical Union/Journal of Geophysical Research.

Burning of woody biomass emits black carbon, a major component of soot which is, according to the study, is the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide. New findings indicate that the heat-trapping ability of black carbon is almost double from original estimates made in a 2007 report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The publishing of the black carbon study follows on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalizing on Dec. 21 of the Boiler MACT Rule along with the Non-Hazardous Secondary Material (NHSM) Rule.

According to the EPA, “particle pollution and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators can lead to adverse health effects including cancer, heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death.”

In addition limits set for boiler emissions, of particular interest to wood products manufacturers in the rule revisions is the expanded definition of woody biomass for fuel, which now reads: “Resinated wood means wood products (containing binders and adhesives) produced by primary and secondary wood products manufacturing. Resinated wood includes residues from the manufacture and use of resinated wood, including materials such as board trim, sander dust, panel trim, and off-specification resinated wood products that do not meet a manufacturing quality or standard.”

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