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UGA study: Southern wood pellets boosting European efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions

European power plants that burn wood pellets imported from the Southern United States to generate electricity are emitting less than half the greenhouse gases than when they use traditional fossil fuels, a new University of Georgia study has found.

European power utilities are using imported wood pellets to generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gases in order to meet a legal mandate that by 2020 at least 20 percent of all energy consumed in the European Union comes from renewable sources. A new study by a researcher with UGA's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources has found that the wood pellets are living up to their promise of releasing fewer greenhouse gases-producing less than half the greenhouse gas emissions than when power plants use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This is good news for the Southern United States, which is a leading exporter of wood pellets to Europe, said Puneet Dwivedi, an assistant professor of sustainability sciences in the Warnell School.