I know I have mentioned the subject before, but I make no apology for mentioning it again, and that is the subject of biomass-for-
energy. Nobody should underestimate the very real threat which the near-global, often heavily subsidised, move to biomass energy generation poses to the panel and woodworking industries.
Ladislaus Döry, president of the European Panel Federation , made his views very clear at the federation’s joint general assembly with the European Federation of the Plywood Industry (p14) when he said that people should understand that ‘biomass’
actually means ‘95% wood’.

“We don’t have a level playing field; it would have been OK if energy producers were not subsidised. This is not only happening in Germany but the whole of Europe – and in North America.”
Mr Döry also talked about the “stupidity of the carbon dioxide-neutrality argumentconcerning energy generation: “If you burn a tree it will produce CO2, whereas our products store the CO2. We have to focus on this. It is the woodworking industry that is giving value to the forest, not the biomass industry,he emphasised.
On a positive note, the EPF president also described the climate change argument as “another added valuefor wood based panels in terms of carbon sinks, low energy input for processing (especially compared with steel) and thermal efficiency in use.
A German government minister who attended the conference recognised particleboard as an example of truly sustainable
production; and acknowledged the economic importance of the panel sector. She also said the German government had supported the concept of a “complete cascadeof the use of wood, with energy at the end, in a recently-passed law.
In 2008, the European Commission (EC) stated: “Carbon storage in harvested wood products can extend the carbon sequestration benefits provided by forests; their role in mitigating climate change should thus be developed”. However, as so often with the EC, words don’t always seem to translate into the right actions.
Anyway, that leaves the rest of the world and the commitment by so many governments to substitute ‘dirty’ fuels with ‘biomass’ in order to meet Kyoto or other, national, carbon targets.
I do not believe the industry can any longer simply rely on its national associations and trade bodies to fight this battle alone: everyone in the business needs to act to publicise and to stop the subsidised burning of their vital raw material. Lobby your political representative, speak to the press; whatever you can do, do.
This, after all, could well be about the survival of your industry.