Forests biomass in Chile – Enormous potential for energetic use

SZARKA, N.; BERG, A.; PRAUS; S.:
DepoTech, pp. 629-632. VGE Verlag GMBH Essen. 2008. ISBN 978-3-86797-028-0.

Abstract

Energetic supply conditions and policy in Chile has been going through significant changes in past years, represented by increasing petroleum prices, growing energy consumption and uncertain and decreasing supply of fossil sources. Currently, 70 % is the country’s dependence on imported energy forms. Besides, the significant shortcut of natural gas upply from Argentina since 2004 has led to negative economic and environmental consequences.

Chilean energy demand is strongly increasing over the past years, whilst the country’s dependence on imported energy forms has reached over 70 % (in 2006). The national policy makers have recognized the necessity and urgency to diversify the energetic sources and seeking for new and renewable, locally available alternative sources to partially replace the imported fossil sources. One of the most promising energetic resources in Chile steams from the forestry sector, represented residues of forests and wood-processing industries, and wood not yet exploited. To formulate sustainable energy solutions in the future based on the forest sector, it is indispensable to reliable estimate the locally available biomass sources. Therefore, goal of this study is to develop and apply a method to assess available biomass from native forests. The work includes the assessment of biomass available in forests and generated by the forest industries. To perform this study, the Region of Aysén has been selected, counting with the highest extension of native trees in Chile, 5 million ha. Results show, that currently, due to the changing market conditions, industrial residues have a discrete, but possibly increasing energetic potential, whilst the native forest represent both currently and in the future a significant potential in the region, over 100.000 m³ yearly.

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