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Wood

The traditional heating fuel, wood, is abundantly available in the Ardennes region. This source of energy is renewable and harnesses the natural resource of woodland areas.

Wood-burning stoves have high levels of output (70 to 95%) and you can choose between different forms of fuel: logs, blocks or densified wood (including easy-to-use wood pellets and granules).

Wood-burning stoves are definitely more expensive than a classic heater; on the other hand, the fuel is currently cheaper than gas or heating oil. The total long-term cost could therefore be more or less the same, depending on the future trend of fossil fuel and wood prices. The choice of wood is undoubtedly the most ecological since it is renewable and the presence of forests "offsets" CO2 emissions. However, even though a third of the Walloon territory is covered with forest, industries other than energy need wood: paper, sawmills, panels, etc. Even though the forest is exploited optimally, Wallonia can no longer increase its wooded area. This means that a problem of supply could arise in the future if demand for wood rises constantly.

The prosThe cons
  • Availability (forest management)
  • Harnesses local natural resources
  • Renewable energy
  • "Wood" heat
  • Difficulty of constantly running a boiler
  • Bulky fuel requires storage space
  • Not as easy to transport as liquid fuel

Shortage of wood in Europe

A serious shortage of timber is threatening in Europe, because electricity producers are using more and more wood in order to generate green electricity. The price of wood has risen by more than 80 per cent in five years.<

The Belgian federation of wood and the furniture industry, Fedustria, is sounding the alarm bell. Today 42 per cent of the total timber harvest goes to the energy sector, which means that there is a shortage of 47 million m³ of wood per annum. In 2020 this share would rise to 60 per cent and there would therefore be a shortage of up to 400 million m³ of wood per annum.

Fedustria further requests then that wood should principally be used for material use and not as a fuel. They also have a good alternative, namely wood products that are at the end of their life cycle. (Report on 17 June 2008)