We newspaper journalists are used to lamenting the decline of newsprint – of watching slumping readership numbers with a sense of impending doom (obviously that applies less to us bloggers).
But one industry’s pain is another’s opportunity, and it seems this decline is reason for celebration among biomass-fuelled energy providers.
Pasi Laine, president of energy and environmental technology at Metso, the Finnish company which makes (among other things) boilers for biomass plants, tells me that the lack of demand for paper from the newspaper industry is freeing up forest to be used as fuel for energy plants. These trees were planted decades ago of course, assuming that newsprint demand would remain relatively stable.
One paper mill at Shotton has built a biomass boiler on its site to burn the waste produced from making recycled newsprint. But this new idea takes out that stage altogether.
What’s more, as wood is a renewable fuel source and produces less CO2 than oil, gas or coal, this development could be good news for the planet. But maybe less so for us beleagured reporters…