Malmsheimer Shares Sustainability Expertise with European Policymakers
Faculty member meets with leaders in Brussels, London
Posted March 2016
Dr. Robert Malmsheimer traveled to Europe this past fall to meet with policy makers to discuss sustainability and the carbon benefits of using wood pellets from the southeastern United States to produce energy.
In Brussels, Malmsheimer, a professor of forest policy and law in ESF's Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, met with members of the European Parliament and the U.S. Mission to the European Parliament. He also gave a presentation at a reception hosted by Member of the European Parliament Timothy Kirkhope.
"My visit educated European policymakers on two things," said Malmsheimer, "the sustainability of wood pellets from the southeastern U.S. and … the carbon accounting aspects [of using those wood pellets] … to produce electricity rather than coal.
"The United Kingdom's largest electric utility, Drax, runs a power station with six turbines. Three of those have been converted [from coal] to wood pellets, with most of those pellets produced in the southeastern U.S.," he said. "Drax is the largest producer of electricity in the world from wood pellets. They produce about 7 percent of all electricity in the U.K., so about 3.5 percent of electricity in the U.K. comes from biomass energy."
Because the U.K. does not produce the 7.5 million metric tons of wood pellets Drax needs for its power plant, they import the pellets in from the southeastern United States. "These are massive volumes of wood pellets," Malmsheimer said. Drax is using approximately 7.5 million metric tons of wood pellets a year, and in 2014, 58 percent of those pellets were imported from the United States
"The United States uses a good deal of biomass, but we're not using much of it to produce electricity," he said. Instead, the nation mostly uses biomass in combined heat-and-power or thermal applications.
"The reason that the U.S. is not converting coal plants to biomass is because natural gas is so much cheaper here than in other parts of the world," Malmsheimer explained. "Many U.S. coal plants have been converted to natural gas within the last eight years and this provides the U.S. with significant carbon savings at very low, unsubsidized prices. For the U.S. to produce electricity from biomass at the same prices as natural gas, the U.S. would have to adopt significant subsidies."
"The subsidies in the U.K. are high and that is why Drax can afford to import wood pellets," he said. "That's not a bad thing, since it allows the U.K. to significantly decrease their greenhouse gas emissions so their government can comply with their climate change obligations."
In London, Malmsheimer also met with the chief scientific advisor at the U.K.'s Department of Energy and Climate Change, and a team at the U.K.'s Committee on Climate Change, which is developing the nation's carbon budgets for the next couple of decades.
Malmsheimer also gave a presentation at the House of Commons to the All Party Parliament Group on Biomass. The presentation and panel discussion that followed was sponsored by Nigel Adams, a member of Parliament.
Malmsheimer's research focuses on how climate change and carbon sequestration policies affect forest resources. He has also researched the carbon accounting aspects of using wood products and wood for energy. He worked with the Society of American Foresters (SAF), studying the interaction between climate change and forests. In 2007 and 2011, he chaired SAF task forces that compiled, assessed and then summarized the peer-reviewed science regarding climate change and forests.
He's been a member of SAF's Carbon Accounting Response Team since 2013, which provides United States policymakers with science-based information on the climate benefits of using wood.
In 2014, Malmsheimer was a co-author on the "Forests" chapter of the U.S. National Climate Assessment. "Basically all these experiences have provided me with the knowledge and insights to give presentations to, and have discussions with, legislative and administrative policymakers."
ESF Faculty Recognized for Excellence and Achievement
- American Fisheries Society Honors RinglerLongtime professor receives award for teaching
- Study in ‘Nature’ Details Global Land ChangeESF professor, co-authors state changes ‘reflect a human-dominated Earth system’
- Wagner Receives College Foundation Teaching AwardCited for dedication to students, professionalism
- Dr. Timothy Volk Named Exemplary Researcher at ESFWork in sustainable energy and energy systems recognized
- ESF Staff, Faculty Honored by SUNY ChancellorCommitment to students, professionalism recognized
- SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Interim President of ESFDr. David C. Amberg brings expertise in research, science and administration to college
- AEC’s McNulty Named President of OBFSOrganization supports field stations, research
- ESF Welcomes Camp Fire Professor of Wildlife ConservationDr. Jerrold Belant joins faculty for fall semester
- ESF Lists Top 10 New Species for 2018New to science: plants, animals and microbes that have ‘found a way to survive against the odds’
- Researchers Find Whole Genome Duplication Has Occurred Many Times during Evolution of InsectsESF scientist joins team in publishing findings
- Nomura Group Recognized for Top ArticleTop 100 most-read microbiology papers in Scientific Reports for 2017
- ESF Team among Finalists for $2.5M Canals Competition NPYA celebrates finalists at ESF event
- ESF Professor's New Book Looks at What Makes Something 'Alive'Dr. Scott Turner argues humans must explore living nature as purposeful, driven by desire
- Trees Cope with Harsh Conditions, Surprising Researchers Study in Australia reveals ability to 'wait out the heat'
- ERE Professor Focuses Sabbatical on GIS TechnologyLindi Quackenbush to add Google Earth Engine to advanced remote-sensing course
- Dr. Jack Manno, Cindy Squillace Honored with Racial Justice AwardRetired faculty member earns award from Interfaith Works
- The Ocean Is Losing Its BreathESF scientist joins team in revealing dangers and solutions
- Synthetic Protein Could Be Key in Battle against DiseaseESF scientists contribute to new publication
- Dr. James Gibbs Named SUNY Distinguished ProfessorESF professor earns highest faculty rank
- ‘Extinct’ Floreana Tortoise Species Could Return to Galapagos ESF professor contributes to restoration program
- NSF Grant Funds ESF Ecologist’s Gypsy Moth ResearchDr. Dylan Parry investigates spread of invasive species
- Martin Hogue Receives Teaching AwardCited for dedication to students, professionalism
- Dr. John Farrell Named Exemplary Researcher at ESFDirector of Thousand Islands Biological Station recognized for aquatic research
- ESF Staff, Faculty Honored by Chancellor Commitment to students, professionalism recognized
- ESF Professor Co-authors Declaration to Support Indigenous ScienceStatement endorsed by over 1500 indigenous scientists and allies
- Farther from the Forest: ‘Eye-opening’ Study Shows Rural U.S. Loses Forests Faster than CitiesStudy overturns conventional wisdom about forest loss
- ESF Professor Awarded Research GrantInnovations in green building construction to be studied
- Former ESF President Whaley Honored by NY Bar AssociationState bar group bestows Environmental Law Section award
- ESF Chemistry Professor Appointed VP for ResearchChristopher Nomura aims to increase collaboration
- Dr. Stewart Diemont Receives Teaching AwardCited for creativity, contributions to profession
- ESF Professor Works to Build Community at COP21Dr. Jack Manno runs workshops at ‘Climate Generations’
- Malmsheimer Shares Sustainability Expertise with European PolicymakersFaculty member meets with leaders in Brussels, London
- Oneida Lake Subject of New BookProfessor Donald Stewart co-edits book on lake’s history, ecology
- Professor’s Book Ranks as ‘Outstanding Academic Title’Jack Manno, co-editors address the end of fossil fuels
- Professional Society Honors ESF Landscape ArchitectRichard Hawks named Distinguished Senior Practitioner, Academic Practice
- Dr. Georgios Mountrakis Honored as Exemplary ResearcherResearcher presents Adaptive Peaks Seminar
- Endreny Receives Fulbright Award as Distinguished Chair in ItalyERE chair to serve semester at Parthenope University in Naples
- ESF Faculty, Staff Honored by SUNY ChancellorCommitment to students, professionalism recognized
- ESF Forest Manager Honored by SAFBruce Breitmeyer named Fellow
- Dr. Robert MalmsheimerESF College Foundation Award for Exceptional Achievement in Teaching
- Dr. Kimberly SchulzExemplary Researcher
- Dr. Christopher NomuraExemplary Researcher
- Dr. Lindi QuackenbushESF College Foundation Award for Exceptional Achievement in Teaching winner
- Ken TissESF College Foundation Award for Exceptional Achievement in Teaching winner
- Greg BoyerExemplary Researcher, Chemistry
- George CurryKennedy Distinguished Faculty Chair in Landscape Architecture
- Dr. Robin KimmererDirector, ESF Center for Native Peoples
- Dr. James GibbsDistinguished teacher, honored researcher
- Dr. David KieberExemplary Researcher, Environmental Chemistry