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Weyerhauser Generates 75% of Energy Needs from Biomass Fuels

weyerhauserghgWeyerhauser Company, a forest products company, has met 75 percent of its operations’ energy needs through the use of renewable and greenhouse-gas-neutral biomass fuels including wood residuals and other organic byproducts in 2008, according to the company’s 2008 online sustainability performance report.

Weyerhauser said biomass fuel from sustainably managed forests is considered to have a neutral effect on greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because the regenerating forest absorbs the carbon dioxide released by burning the fuel. In 2008, biomass fuel generated 76 percent of the company’s power in its cellulose fibers mills and 63 percent of its energy supply at its wood products facilities.

Weyerhauser and Chevron formed a joint venture, Catchlight Energy LLC, that will research and develop technology for converting cellulose-based biomass into economical, low-carbon biofuels.

The company has also reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2008 by 10 percent for direct emissions and about 5 percent for indirect emissions from 2000 levels. However, the company stated it will be difficult to meet its current reduction commitment — 40 percent by 2020 using 2000 as the baseline — due to its smaller operations profile and the economic downturn, and plans to reevaluate its progress toward the original goal at the end of 2009.

In 2008, Weyerhauser entered into several transactions involving the sale of “Green Tags,” which are renewable energy certificates that represent the environmental attributes associated with generating energy from renewable sources, including biomass fuel, according to the report. The energy associated with the sale of these renewable energy credits is about 1 percent of the total biomass energy used by the company.

In addition, ninety-nine percent of the products Weyerhauser manufactures worldwide are certified to sustainable forestry standards, and the company has planted more than 100 million tree seedlings across the 21.9 million acres it manages worldwide.

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