Is burning trees still green? Some experts now question biomass
In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest. "There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."
In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant. In 2015, biomass — which refers to trees or other organic matter burned for fuel — produced more electrical energy in the U.S. than solar panels. The practice exploded in the 1990s, when oil prices were on the rise, in part because of the idea that biomass was "carbon neutral."
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