New heating system for homes may cut greenhouse gas emissions

Washington, Sep 25 (ANI): Experts have suggested that a new heating system where homes would be heated by district centres rather than in individual households could dramatically reduce the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists at the University of Manchester have claimed using sustainable wood and other biofuels could hold the key to lowering harmful greenhouse gases.

Building district heating schemes which would provide heat and hot water for a neighbourhood or community would not only drastically reduce greenhouse gases but would also be highly cost effective, the authors claimed.

The plans would only provide cost savings if the heat demand is very steady. Otherwise large scale dedicated electricity plants become the most cost effective way to save greenhouse gases with biomass, with costs per unit of carbon saved around half that of a smaller facility.

The reports stated that using wood in UK power stations gave greenhouse gas reductions of over 84 percent and even higher savings of 94 percent were possible for heating schemes.

Prepared by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to highlight the effectiveness of using sustainable fuels rather than rely on fossil fuels, the series of reports were presented at the UK's first bio conference - BioTen.

Author Patricia Thornley suggested using a number of supply chains, including imported forest residues and local grown energy crops, would reduce emissions and save on fossil fuels.

Previous work by University of Manchester researchers took this into account in concluding that sustainable biomass could supply at least 4.9 percent of the UK's total energy demand.

Realising that potential could result in savings of 18 Mt of carbon dioxide every year, which is equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with around 2.7 million households.

Thornley of the University of Manchester, said: "Bioenergy could play a very important part in helping the UK meet greenhouse gas reduction targets that will help to reduce the impact of climate change.

"Heating homes with wood reduces greenhouse gas emissions because plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide when they are growing and then re-release it when they are burnt for heating - so the only increase in greenhouse gas emissions are those involved in things like harvesting and processing the fuel."

"This work has taken a detailed look at all those emissions and established that even when we take them into account, there are still huge greenhouse gas savings to be made.

"If we can combine the low-carbon wood with really efficient heating systems, that offers an efficient and cost-effective route to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions," she added. (ANI)

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