Global carbon impacts of using forest harvest residues for district heating in Vermont

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Forests in Vermont are selectively logged periodically to generate wood products and useful energy. Carbon remains stored in the wood products during their lifetime and in fossil fuel displaced by using these products in place of energy-intensive products. Additional carbon is sequestered by new forest growth, and the forest inventory is sustained using this procedure. A significant portion of the harvest residue can be used as biofuel in central plants to generate electricity and thermal energy, which also displaces the use of fossil fuels. The impact of this action on the global carbon balance was analyzed using a model derived ... continued below

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14 p.

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McLain, H.A. July 1, 1998.

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Forests in Vermont are selectively logged periodically to generate wood products and useful energy. Carbon remains stored in the wood products during their lifetime and in fossil fuel displaced by using these products in place of energy-intensive products. Additional carbon is sequestered by new forest growth, and the forest inventory is sustained using this procedure. A significant portion of the harvest residue can be used as biofuel in central plants to generate electricity and thermal energy, which also displaces the use of fossil fuels. The impact of this action on the global carbon balance was analyzed using a model derived from the Graz/Oak Ridge Carbon Accounting Model (GORCAM). The analysis showed that when forests are harvested only to manufacture wood products, more than 100 years are required to match the sequestered carbon present if the forest is left undisturbed. If part of the harvest residue is collected and used as biofuel in place of oil or natural gas, it is possible to reduce this time to about 90 years, but it is usually longer. Given that harvesting the forest for products will continue, carbon emission benefits relative to this practice can start within 10 to 70 years if part of the harvest residue is used as biofuel. This time is usually higher for electric generation plants, but it can be reduced substantially by converting to cogeneration operation. Cogeneration makes possible a ratio of carbon emission reduction for district heating to carbon emission increase for electricity generation in the range of 3 to 5. Additional sequestering benefits can be realized by using discarded wood products as biofuels.

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14 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE98006065

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  • 1998 ACEEE summer study on energy efficiency in buildings, Pacific Grove, CA (United States), 23-28 Aug 1998

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  • Other: DE98006065
  • Report No.: ORNL/CP--98785
  • Report No.: CONF-980815--
  • Grant Number: AC05-96OR22464
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 656543
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc704386

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • July 1, 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • Nov. 3, 2016, 6:52 p.m.

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McLain, H.A. Global carbon impacts of using forest harvest residues for district heating in Vermont, article, July 1, 1998; Tennessee. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc704386/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.