Biomass – Burning lots of Wood

This is a view on the burning of wood for biomass. Is it a good or bad thing. Is it renewable or as bad as burning coal.

Here’s a 250 year old (minimum) tree. Its dead, but we can see the tree rings, one per year, I believe it was chopped down about 10 years back, so lets assume outer ring is 2010. It can be seen in Tunbridge Wells. I have added a few dates down to 1940, just after WW2 started. treerings (Large)

treerings2

My years aren’t that accurate, the rings are difficult to read from an image, but what I want to show is that they are fairly consistent.

The key thing is, a tree adds about 4mm a year. A tree with a radius of 4mm, ie about a year old, adding another 4mm adds very little in terms of carbon sequestration. A big old tree adding 4mm to a 1 meter radius! Well, I have added some figures below.  The math is very simple, we use the radiius of the tree. I am showing  a consistent growth of about 8mm width – it works with actual observation, I’m not making up these figures, see tree above!

Now, do a search for “how much co2 per cubic metre of wood “Swedish Wood” states:  “Through photosynthesis, a normal tree absorbs an average of 1 tonne carbon dioxide per cubic metre of growth, while at the same time producing and releasing the equivalent of 0.7 tonnes carbon dioxide.”  Its that 1 tonne that is important here as I am looking at stored CO2, not the process.

So, chop down a 1 tonne tree and burn it, there will be 1 tonne of CO2 released – yes, I know its not the same chemical process, and there is lots of water in each tonne of wood and its one carbon atom to 2 oxygen atoms, but the figures are very close !

NB. I’m also being generous with the early growth, however from about 5 years it works.

The key thing is. Chop down a 100 year old tree with a 20 meter trunk, the trunk alone weighs 10 tonnes.

Plant 10 trees to replace it, after 10 years they have a trunk height of say   5 meters  that weighs 25 kilos per tree, a total of 250 kilos

Those 10 trees might be 10 meters trunk height after 30 years, with a 50 kilo weight per meter, so we now have 5 tonnes of wood (plus lots of branches and leaves, but then it gets confusing, the same applies to the 100 year old tree) .

In one year the 100 year old, 20 meter heigh (trunk) tree added about 200 kilos to its weight, just short of the 10 times 10 year old trees weigh in total. Add the branches and almost certainly more!

Once the tree hits 200 years, it is taking a good 1/2 tonne of carbon out of the atmosphere every year.

Interestingly our climate emergency, and the time we have to work in is about 10 years !

Every tree chopped down is a nail in our coffins.

Compared with coal? A tree represents stored CO2 , its also extracting CO2.  Coal is also stored carbon from the atmosphere. It is insane to say its better to burn trees rather than coal.

I will be amending this as I can accumulate more facts / weights / tree rings.

years
old

mm
radius

trunk area in mm2 latest tree ring mm2 cubic meters per 1 meter trunk cubic meters in latest tree ring
1 4 50.272 50.272 0.000050272 0.000050272
2 8 201.088 150.816 0.000201088 0.000150816
3 12 452.448 251.36 0.000452448 0.00025136
4 16 804.352 351.904 0.000804352 0.000351904
5 20 1256.8 452.448 0.0012568 0.000452448
6 24 1809.792 552.992 0.001809792 0.000552992
7 28 2463.328 653.536 0.002463328 0.000653536
8 32 3217.408 754.08 0.003217408 0.00075408
9 36 4072.032 854.624 0.004072032 0.000854624
10 40 5027.2 955.168 0.0050272 0.000955168
11 44 6082.912 1055.712 0.006082912 0.001055712
12 48 7239.168 1156.256 0.007239168 0.001156256
13 52 8495.968 1256.8 0.008495968 0.0012568
14 56 9853.312 1357.344 0.009853312 0.001357344
15 60 11311.2 1457.888 0.0113112 0.001457888
16 64 12869.632 1558.432 0.012869632 0.001558432
17 68 14528.608 1658.976 0.014528608 0.001658976
18 72 16288.128 1759.52 0.016288128 0.00175952
19 76 18148.192 1860.064 0.018148192 0.001860064
20 80 20108.8 1960.608 0.0201088 0.001960608
21 84 22169.952 2061.152 0.022169952 0.002061152
22 88 24331.648 2161.696 0.024331648 0.002161696
23 92 26593.888 2262.24 0.026593888 0.00226224
24 96 28956.672 2362.784 0.028956672 0.002362784
25 100 31420 2463.328 0.03142 0.002463328
26 104 33983.872 2563.872 0.033983872 0.002563872
27 108 36648.288 2664.416 0.036648288 0.002664416
28 112 39413.248 2764.96 0.039413248 0.00276496
29 116 42278.752 2865.504 0.042278752 0.002865504
30 120 45244.8 2966.048 0.0452448 0.002966048
31 124 48311.392 3066.592 0.048311392 0.003066592
32 128 51478.528 3167.136 0.051478528 0.003167136
33 132 54746.208 3267.68 0.054746208 0.00326768
34 136 58114.432 3368.224 0.058114432 0.003368224
35 140 61583.2 3468.768 0.0615832 0.003468768
36 144 65152.512 3569.312 0.065152512 0.003569312
37 148 68822.368 3669.856 0.068822368 0.003669856
38 152 72592.768 3770.4 0.072592768 0.0037704
39 156 76463.712 3870.944 0.076463712 0.003870944
40 160 80435.2 3971.488 0.0804352 0.003971488
41 164 84507.232 4072.032 0.084507232 0.004072032
42 168 88679.808 4172.576 0.088679808 0.004172576
43 172 92952.928 4273.12 0.092952928 0.00427312
44 176 97326.592 4373.664 0.097326592 0.004373664
45 180 101800.8 4474.208 0.1018008 0.004474208
46 184 106375.552 4574.752 0.106375552 0.004574752
47 188 111050.848 4675.296 0.111050848 0.004675296
48 192 115826.688 4775.84 0.115826688 0.00477584
49 196 120703.072 4876.384 0.120703072 0.004876384
50 200 125680 4976.928 0.12568 0.004976928
51 204 130757.472 5077.472 0.130757472 0.005077472
52 208 135935.488 5178.016 0.135935488 0.005178016
53 212 141214.048 5278.56 0.141214048 0.00527856
54 216 146593.152 5379.104 0.146593152 0.005379104
55 220 152072.8 5479.648 0.1520728 0.005479648
56 224 157652.992 5580.192 0.157652992 0.005580192
57 228 163333.728 5680.736 0.163333728 0.005680736
58 232 169115.008 5781.28 0.169115008 0.00578128
59 236 174996.832 5881.824 0.174996832 0.005881824
60 240 180979.2 5982.368 0.1809792 0.005982368
61 244 187062.112 6082.912 0.187062112 0.006082912
62 248 193245.568 6183.456 0.193245568 0.006183456
63 252 199529.568 6284 0.199529568 0.006284
64 256 205914.112 6384.544 0.205914112 0.006384544
65 260 212399.2 6485.088 0.2123992 0.006485088
66 264 218984.832 6585.632 0.218984832 0.006585632
67 268 225671.008 6686.176 0.225671008 0.006686176
68 272 232457.728 6786.72 0.232457728 0.00678672
69 276 239344.992 6887.264 0.239344992 0.006887264
70 280 246332.8 6987.808 0.2463328 0.006987808
71 284 253421.152 7088.352 0.253421152 0.007088352
72 288 260610.048 7188.896 0.260610048 0.007188896
73 292 267899.488 7289.44 0.267899488 0.00728944
74 296 275289.472 7389.984 0.275289472 0.007389984
75 300 282780 7490.528 0.28278 0.007490528
76 304 290371.072 7591.072 0.290371072 0.007591072
77 308 298062.688 7691.616 0.298062688 0.007691616
78 312 305854.848 7792.16 0.305854848 0.00779216
79 316 313747.552 7892.704 0.313747552 0.007892704
80 320 321740.8 7993.248 0.3217408 0.007993248
81 324 329834.592 8093.792 0.329834592 0.008093792
82 328 338028.928 8194.336 0.338028928 0.008194336
83 332 346323.808 8294.88 0.346323808 0.00829488
84 336 354719.232 8395.424 0.354719232 0.008395424
85 340 363215.2 8495.968 0.3632152 0.008495968
86 344 371811.712 8596.512 0.371811712 0.008596512
87 348 380508.768 8697.056 0.380508768 0.008697056
88 352 389306.368 8797.6 0.389306368 0.0087976
89 356 398204.512 8898.144 0.398204512 0.008898144
90 360 407203.2 8998.688 0.4072032 0.008998688
91 364 416302.432 9099.232 0.416302432 0.009099232
92 368 425502.208 9199.776 0.425502208 0.009199776
93 372 434802.528 9300.32 0.434802528 0.00930032
94 376 444203.392 9400.864 0.444203392 0.009400864
95 380 453704.8 9501.408 0.4537048 0.009501408
96 384 463306.752 9601.952 0.463306752 0.009601952
97 388 473009.248 9702.496 0.473009248 0.009702496
98 392 482812.288 9803.04 0.482812288 0.00980304
99 396 492715.872 9903.584 0.492715872 0.009903584
100 400 502720 10004.128 0.50272 0.010004128
101 404 512824.672 10104.672 0.512824672 0.010104672
102 408 523029.888 10205.216 0.523029888 0.010205216
103 412 533335.648 10305.76 0.533335648 0.01030576
104 416 543741.952 10406.304 0.543741952 0.010406304
105 420 554248.8 10506.848 0.5542488 0.010506848
106 424 564856.192 10607.392 0.564856192 0.010607392
107 428 575564.128 10707.936 0.575564128 0.010707936
108 432 586372.608 10808.48 0.586372608 0.01080848
109 436 597281.632 10909.024 0.597281632 0.010909024
110 440 608291.2 11009.568 0.6082912 0.011009568
111 444 619401.312 11110.112 0.619401312 0.011110112
112 448 630611.968 11210.656 0.630611968 0.011210656
113 452 641923.168 11311.2 0.641923168 0.0113112
114 456 653334.912 11411.744 0.653334912 0.011411744
115 460 664847.2 11512.288 0.6648472 0.011512288
116 464 676460.032 11612.832 0.676460032 0.011612832
117 468 688173.408 11713.376 0.688173408 0.011713376
118 472 699987.328 11813.92 0.699987328 0.01181392
119 476 711901.792 11914.464 0.711901792 0.011914464
120 480 723916.8 12015.008 0.7239168 0.012015008
121 484 736032.352 12115.552 0.736032352 0.012115552
122 488 748248.448 12216.096 0.748248448 0.012216096
123 492 760565.088 12316.64 0.760565088 0.01231664
124 496 772982.272 12417.184 0.772982272 0.012417184
125 500 785500 12517.728 0.7855 0.012517728
126 504 798118.272 12618.272 0.798118272 0.012618272
127 508 810837.088 12718.816 0.810837088 0.012718816
128 512 823656.448 12819.36 0.823656448 0.01281936
129 516 836576.352 12919.904 0.836576352 0.012919904
130 520 849596.8 13020.448 0.8495968 0.013020448
131 524 862717.792 13120.992 0.862717792 0.013120992
132 528 875939.328 13221.536 0.875939328 0.013221536
133 532 889261.408 13322.08 0.889261408 0.01332208
134 536 902684.032 13422.624 0.902684032 0.013422624
135 540 916207.2 13523.168 0.9162072 0.013523168
136 544 929830.912 13623.712 0.929830912 0.013623712
137 548 943555.168 13724.256 0.943555168 0.013724256
138 552 957379.968 13824.8 0.957379968 0.0138248
139 556 971305.312 13925.344 0.971305312 0.013925344
140 560 985331.2 14025.888 0.9853312 0.014025888
141 564 999457.632 14126.432 0.999457632 0.014126432
142 568 1013684.608 14226.976 1.013684608 0.014226976
143 572 1028012.128 14327.52 1.028012128 0.01432752
144 576 1042440.192 14428.064 1.042440192 0.014428064
145 580 1056968.8 14528.608 1.0569688 0.014528608
146 584 1071597.952 14629.152 1.071597952 0.014629152
147 588 1086327.648 14729.696 1.086327648 0.014729696
148 592 1101157.888 14830.24 1.101157888 0.01483024
149 596 1116088.672 14930.784 1.116088672 0.014930784
150 600 1131120 15031.328 1.13112 0.015031328
151 604 1146251.872 15131.872 1.146251872 0.015131872
152 608 1161484.288 15232.416 1.161484288 0.015232416
153 612 1176817.248 15332.96 1.176817248 0.01533296
154 616 1192250.752 15433.504 1.192250752 0.015433504
155 620 1207784.8 15534.048 1.2077848 0.015534048
156 624 1223419.392 15634.592 1.223419392 0.015634592
157 628 1239154.528 15735.136 1.239154528 0.015735136
158 632 1254990.208 15835.68 1.254990208 0.01583568
159 636 1270926.432 15936.224 1.270926432 0.015936224
160 640 1286963.2 16036.768 1.2869632 0.016036768
161 644 1303100.512 16137.312 1.303100512 0.016137312
162 648 1319338.368 16237.856 1.319338368 0.016237856
163 652 1335676.768 16338.4 1.335676768 0.0163384
164 656 1352115.712 16438.944 1.352115712 0.016438944
165 660 1368655.2 16539.488 1.3686552 0.016539488
166 664 1385295.232 16640.032 1.385295232 0.016640032
167 668 1402035.808 16740.576 1.402035808 0.016740576
168 672 1418876.928 16841.12 1.418876928 0.01684112
169 676 1435818.592 16941.664 1.435818592 0.016941664
170 680 1452860.8 17042.208 1.4528608 0.017042208
171 684 1470003.552 17142.752 1.470003552 0.017142752
172 688 1487246.848 17243.296 1.487246848 0.017243296
173 692 1504590.688 17343.84 1.504590688 0.01734384
174 696 1522035.072 17444.384 1.522035072 0.017444384
175 700 1539580 17544.928 1.53958 0.017544928
176 704 1557225.472 17645.472 1.557225472 0.017645472
177 708 1574971.488 17746.016 1.574971488 0.017746016
178 712 1592818.048 17846.56 1.592818048 0.01784656
179 716 1610765.152 17947.104 1.610765152 0.017947104
180 720 1628812.8 18047.648 1.6288128 0.018047648
181 724 1646960.992 18148.192 1.646960992 0.018148192
182 728 1665209.728 18248.736 1.665209728 0.018248736
183 732 1683559.008 18349.28 1.683559008 0.01834928
184 736 1702008.832 18449.824 1.702008832 0.018449824
185 740 1720559.2 18550.368 1.7205592 0.018550368
186 744 1739210.112 18650.912 1.739210112 0.018650912
187 748 1757961.568 18751.456 1.757961568 0.018751456
188 752 1776813.568 18852 1.776813568 0.018852
189 756 1795766.112 18952.544 1.795766112 0.018952544
190 760 1814819.2 19053.088 1.8148192 0.019053088
191 764 1833972.832 19153.632 1.833972832 0.019153632
192 768 1853227.008 19254.176 1.853227008 0.019254176
193 772 1872581.728 19354.72 1.872581728 0.01935472
194 776 1892036.992 19455.264 1.892036992 0.019455264
195 780 1911592.8 19555.808 1.9115928 0.019555808
196 784 1931249.152 19656.352 1.931249152 0.019656352
197 788 1951006.048 19756.896 1.951006048 0.019756896
198 792 1970863.488 19857.44 1.970863488 0.01985744
199 796 1990821.472 19957.984 1.990821472 0.019957984
200 800 2010880 20058.528 2.01088 0.020058528
201 804 2031039.072 20159.072 2.031039072 0.020159072
202 808 2051298.688 20259.616 2.051298688 0.020259616
203 812 2071658.848 20360.16 2.071658848 0.02036016
204 816 2092119.552 20460.704 2.092119552 0.020460704
205 820 2112680.8 20561.248 2.1126808 0.020561248
206 824 2133342.592 20661.792 2.133342592 0.020661792
207 828 2154104.928 20762.336 2.154104928 0.020762336
208 832 2174967.808 20862.88 2.174967808 0.02086288
209 836 2195931.232 20963.424 2.195931232 0.020963424
210 840 2216995.2 21063.968 2.2169952 0.021063968
211 844 2238159.712 21164.512 2.238159712 0.021164512
212 848 2259424.768 21265.056 2.259424768 0.021265056
213 852 2280790.368 21365.6 2.280790368 0.0213656
214 856 2302256.512 21466.144 2.302256512 0.021466144
215 860 2323823.2 21566.688 2.3238232 0.021566688
216 864 2345490.432 21667.232 2.345490432 0.021667232
217 868 2367258.208 21767.776 2.367258208 0.021767776
218 872 2389126.528 21868.32 2.389126528 0.02186832
219 876 2411095.392 21968.864 2.411095392 0.021968864
220 880 2433164.8 22069.408 2.4331648 0.022069408
221 884 2455334.752 22169.952 2.455334752 0.022169952
222 888 2477605.248 22270.496 2.477605248 0.022270496
223 892 2499976.288 22371.04 2.499976288 0.02237104
224 896 2522447.872 22471.584 2.522447872 0.022471584
225 900 2545020 22572.128 2.54502 0.022572128
226 904 2567692.672 22672.672 2.567692672 0.022672672
227 908 2590465.888 22773.216 2.590465888 0.022773216
228 912 2613339.648 22873.76 2.613339648 0.02287376
229 916 2636313.952 22974.304 2.636313952 0.022974304
230 920 2659388.8 23074.848 2.6593888 0.023074848
231 924 2682564.192 23175.392 2.682564192 0.023175392
232 928 2705840.128 23275.936 2.705840128 0.023275936
233 932 2729216.608 23376.48 2.729216608 0.02337648
234 936 2752693.632 23477.024 2.752693632 0.023477024
235 940 2776271.2 23577.568 2.7762712 0.023577568
236 944 2799949.312 23678.112 2.799949312 0.023678112
237 948 2823727.968 23778.656 2.823727968 0.023778656
238 952 2847607.168 23879.2 2.847607168 0.0238792
239 956 2871586.912 23979.744 2.871586912 0.023979744
240 960 2895667.2 24080.288 2.8956672 0.024080288
241 964 2919848.032 24180.832 2.919848032 0.024180832
242 968 2944129.408 24281.376 2.944129408 0.024281376
243 972 2968511.328 24381.92 2.968511328 0.02438192
244 976 2992993.792 24482.464 2.992993792 0.024482464
245 980 3017576.8 24583.008 3.0175768 0.024583008
246 984 3042260.352 24683.552 3.042260352 0.024683552
247 988 3067044.448 24784.096 3.067044448 0.024784096
248 992 3091929.088 24884.64 3.091929088 0.02488464
249 996 3116914.272 24985.184 3.116914272 0.024985184

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