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The forestry sector produces biomass, energy that does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Presently, the Chilean forest industry is actively involved in electricity generation from biomass. Biomass is all the organic matter, alive or dead, that is above or below the ground (1). Biomass energy is that obtained from burning it or processing it to obtain another type of fuel. (2)

On the other hand, forest biomass is all biomass present in the forest, which is used in energy systems. Canopies and branches left over timber harvest, poor quality trees, trees removed during land clearing operations, wood waste from urban areas and lumber residue produced by sawmills are used to obtain biomass (3).

According to the Kyoto Protocol, biomass has a carbon dioxide (CO2) emission factor equal to zero. Even though biomass combustion does produce CO2, the amount of carbon dioxide was already absorbed by the plants during their growth, so they do not represent an increase on CO2 emissions (4).

Likewise, this product represents 2.3% of Chile's energy matrix, and over 38% of Non- Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE). In 2013, CORMA estimated that the installed capacity for generating electricity from forest biomass reached at least 900 MW, produced mainly through chips, sawdust and black liquor combustion in industrial processes.


(1). FAO 2008: "Forests and energy. Key issues". Glossary, p. 61.
(2). National Energy Commission and Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, 2007: “Biomass project. Environmental assessment guidelines for Non-conventional renewable energies”, p. 17.
(3). FAO 2008: "Forest and energy. Key issues". Glossary, p. 61.
(4). National Energy Commission and Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, 2007: “Biomass project. Environmental assessment guidelines for Non-conventional renewable energies”, p. 17.