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Biomass letter 'was inaccurate'.

MR Ian Neil's letter on biomass is inaccurate on a number of counts.

He raises concerns about the carbon footprint of the biomass supply chain. As with any imported product there are emissions associated with the processing and transportation of biomass; however Drax measures the carbon footprint of every step in its supply chain and this is independently audited. After all the supply chain emissions are included, and as reported to our regulator, sustainable biomass has a carbon footprint 86% lower than coal.

The point Mr Neil makes about CO2 emissions from biomass compared to coal fails to acknowledge the bigger picture. The combustion of sustainable biomass is part of a carbon neutral cycle: burning wood only releases the carbon which was taken from the atmosphere when it was growing. Although carbon is released when biomass is burned, Drax sources from areas where the forests are sustainably managed and carbon stocks are maintained or growing.

Mr Neil's remark that "cutting down of swathes of forest is taking life-giving oxygen out of the air" fails to acknowledge how the forestry sector works. Drax sources biomass from commerciallymanaged forests, which are grown for the purpose of being harvested, sold, and then regrown. Trees in such forests absorb CO2 but it is crucial to note that healthy demand for wood stimulates supply and ensures these forests remain as forests. That is in part why forest cover in the US, from which we source a large part of our forest biomass, is growing year on year and has been for each of the last 50 years. That is also why US forests store 31% more carbon now than in 1990.

MATTHEW RIVERS, Director of Group Sustainability, Drax Group, and Chairman, Drax Biomass Inc.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2015
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