Use of invasive plant species tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima Mill.) biomass in energy production.
Spreading of invasive plant species threatens habitats, ecosystems and indigenous species in areas where they would not come naturally. One of them is a plant species called Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima, Mill), which is one of the most dangerous invasive woody plants in the world as well as in Croatia. Tree of heaven occupies space to the detriment of other plant species; it produces allelochemicals and shows the tendency of intense spreading and suppression of other domestic species. It reverses the landscape's appearance and does invaluable damage to the ecosystem, by generating enormous quantities of potentially usable biomass. Biomass has a significant potential for further development. The use of biomass which remains after the removal of invasive species has many advantages, both regarding of increasing share of renewable energy production and environmental protection, as well as in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which adversely affect human health and the environment. The research aimed to determine the possibility of using invasive plant species Tree of heaven remainings after its removal from nature as a raw material and determine its energy potential and the possibility of using it for energy purposes, by direct combustion and pyrolysis. According to the analysis results it can be concluded that the Tree of heaven has a possibility of its utilization for energy purposes. It is justified to assume that this invasive species has potential as raw material for direct combustion, as well as in the process of pyrolysis, i.e., production of bio-oil and biochar.