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Can a wood heating boiler be CO₂-neutral?

Wood heaters burn CO₂ neutral

Why can we claim that heating with wood is CO₂ neutral? And don’t we burn our entire raw material when we burn wood? We are happy to clear up one or the other misconception with this article.

When heating with wood, only as much carbon dioxide is released during the combustion of the raw material as the tree absorbs during its growth. In the process, trees convert CO₂ from the atmosphere into carbon (C) for growth and oxygen (O₂) for release into the air. In sum, this makes wood combustion climate neutral.

Lately, the argument that biomass heating would harm our environment and burn more raw material than it grows again, is becoming more and more common. Let’s get a few false arguments out of the way.

Low CO₂ emissions from wood heating systems

Heating with a fuel that grows again

In Austria, 1m³ of wood grows in the forest every second. Every year, about 30 million m³ of wood grow back. At the same time, only about 26 million m³ are currently used. The rest remains in the forest and increases the wood supply every year. Thus, more and more CO₂ emissions can be converted into valuable oxygen by the trees.

The wood increment in Germany is 121.6 million m³ per year. On average, 76 million m³ of raw wood are used. With a wood stock of 336 m³ per hectare, Germany is at the top of the European Union.

The forest as a climate protector - Hard facts

  • The forest is climate protection factor No. 1
  • In Austrian forests about 3.6 billion tons of CO₂ are bound in wood
  • 1m³ of wood binds about 1 ton of CO₂
  • CO₂ remains bound in wood as long as it is used for material purposes (house building etc.)
  • If wood is burned, only as much CO₂ is released as the tree has absorbed in the course of its life.

Due to the fact that in many places more wood grows back than is used and CO₂ emissions are comparatively low, biomass heating systems enable CO₂-neutral heating. Regardless of whether it’s wood log heating system, a pellet heating system or a wood chip heating system: with biomass as a fuel, you’re sitting on the longer branch and looking after the environment at the same time. Inform yourself now and switch to environmentally friendly heating!

Overview biomass boilers