The future of biomass as a renewable energy resource in the Czech Republic: the case of waste wood

Jehlickova, Bohumira (2003). The future of biomass as a renewable energy resource in the Czech Republic: the case of waste wood. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f577

Abstract

The aim of my study was to determine the potential of waste wood as a significant household renewable energy resource that could improve the quality of the environment in the Czech Republic, particularly in the Black Triangle, the most environmentally damaged region in the country. This topic has so far received little attention, despite recent policy development at promoting renewable energy resources.

First it was necessary to establish whether there was sufficient availability of sustainably obtained waste wood. The second question was availability of suitable technology designed for efficient and environmentally friendly combustion of wood. Once these two basic requirements were determined my research followed two goals. First the dissertation aimed to identify factors and influences that play a significant role in the process in which individuals make their decision about the use of wood as a renewable fuel. There were strong reasons to anticipate that people in the Black Triangle who decided to switch to wood as a source of domestic heating in the early 1990s, were led primarily by their environmental beliefs. This hypothesis was not confirmed, although it was found that to a certain degree they were influenced by their environmental attitudes.

The outcomes of the examination of users’ experiences with fuel wood identified important barriers to its use as a domestic fuel. The newly emerging government policy was identified as a possible answer to some of the problems arising from this method of household heating in the Czech Republic. The government policy relating to promoting biomass-based renewable energy resources was thoroughly examined. Evidence was found that wood as a fuel has been mostly promoted through financial incentives and dissemination of information.

It was found that availability of wood is an issue that has to be tackled at a local level and in a complex way to ensure that there will be enough fuel in the future for large industrial users, as well as individual users. If combustion of wood is to be environmentally benign method of household heating, several conditions need to be met including the use of specially designed appliances and of wood with water content approximately 20 per cent. Some evidence was found that users do not use the fuel of a suitable quality and consequently pollute the environment.

It was suggested that local authorities’ involvement might be instrumental for disseminating know-how for keeping the users informed about environmental consequences of their behaviour as well as providing help with procurement of wood.

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