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    Author(s): J.I. Zerbe
    Date: 2004
    Source: Encyclopedia of forest sciences : volume two. Oxford : Elsevier Academic Press, 2004: Pages [601]-607
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (257 KB)


    In most developing countries wood and charcoal are the predominant fuels for preparation of food to maintain the quality of life that encompasses the majority of citizens. In many developing countries wood fuels are also important for small and medium size industries. Moreover, energy from wood continues to be important in industrial countries. In the USA biomass including waste wood and alcohol from corn provided about 3.3% of total energy consumption in 2000. This was more than was provided by conventional hydroelectric power and more than other forms of renewable energy. Wood energy is consumed in a variety of forms that include fireplace lengths, chunkwood, chips, sawdust and shavings, black liquor from pulp manufacture, pellets, fireplace logs, briquettes, charcoal, gasified wood fuel, and liquefied wood fuel. Wood provides warmth and comfort to homes through burning in fireplaces and automated heating systems. And even in industrial countries wood is used for cooking where it is burned in specially designed stoves for convenience or on grilles to bring out special flavors. Wood fuel is important to commercial wood manufacturing facilities where waste wood can be disposed and used profitably for energy at the same time. In areas where wood from logging and manufacturing is abundant, other industries such as brickmaking and cement manufacture also benefit from sales of wood fuel. In some South American countries wood charcoal provides the fuel for smelters in manufacturing steel. Some major considerations in using wood for fuel are environmental impact, economics, convenience, reliability, and simplicity. On balance, wood is an environmentally benign fuel. It tends to be more economic than some other fuels, but may be less convenient.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Zerbe, J.I. 2004. Energy from wood. Encyclopedia of forest sciences : volume two. Oxford : Elsevier Academic Press, 2004: Pages [601]-607


    Fuelwood, wood fuel, charcoal

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