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THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: California Cars Are Running on Restaurant Grease

Unread postby GASMON » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 16:35:06

Old news - In UK (some) cars have been running on Chip fat for years (Chips = potato chips, french fries)

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/ ... hip-959452

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7047128.stm

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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 16 Dec 2017, 11:55:50

As has been known for quite some time
It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca ... 6ebe9567d3
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 16 Dec 2017, 12:40:50

onlooker wrote:As has been known for quite some time
It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca ... 6ebe9567d3

George W. Bush pushed through the mandatory ethanol subsidy back in 2005. It was supposed to 'Make American Great Again' [smilie=5bullwhip.gif] That cowboy huckster was a genius compared to our current idiot. What are his plans re corn liquor? Keep the subsidies.

Despite its legal snafus, ADM moved into the new millennium with its political clout intact. George W. Bush has diligently maintained the four pillars of ADM’s business model: heavily subsidized corn production, a stiff tariff against foreign ethanol, the sugar quota, and ethanol’s tax exemption. He even signed off on a fifth pillar, for good measure: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 stipulates that the U.S. gas supply must contain at least 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2015, about double the 2005 level. Since corn ethanol has a vast head start over rivals, most analysts assume the mandate will mainly affect corn ethanol production.

http://grist.org/article/adm1/

GW did it for his buddies at the Archer Daniel Midlands . . . the Fructose Kings. EIA still count that 1 million barrels a day of corn liquor as oil. What a joke, more evidence that the US peak real conventional oil was more than a decade ago
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 09 Jan 2018, 15:49:38

Graeme wrote:Here's a little more on the history of the Drax power station.

'Converting Drax to burn biomass required new supply chain'

Graham Backhouse, head of supply chain and logistics at the UK’s largest power station, said it was necessary to create new port facilities, new rail wagons and extra storage facilities.

Backhouse said the move was driven by the government’s stated goal to move away from coal and Drax started experimenting with biomass fuels in 2003.

“It was the right thing to do, to consider the future and the skills and infrastructure at the power station, which lent themselves to biomass,” he said.

Backhouse joined Drax in 2008 after it was decided to ramp up the use of biomass. In that year the station used a couple of hundred thousand tonnes of biomass – a mixture of timber and agricultural by-products – but by 2010 it was burning more than one million tonnes a year.

At that time the company’s intention was to convert its six boilers to run on a mix of coal and biomass, known as co-firing, to take advantage of government renewable energy subsidies. This would require around seven million tonnes of biomass and five million tonnes of coal each year.

However, in 2012 government policy changed and subsidies for co-firing were cut. This meant to get the same level of subsidy as before, Drax would have to convert boilers to run purely on biomass. “On that day our share price tumbled immediately by 25 to 30 per cent within an hour of the government announcement, because no one had ever converted boilers on the scale Drax has here,” said Backhouse.


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In light of the above have a look at this, much more plus pictures and graphs at link below quote.

A loophole in carbon-accounting rules is spurring a boom in burning wood pellets in European power plants. The result has been a surge in logging, particularly in the U.S. South, and new doubts about whether Europe can meet its commitments under the Paris accord.

It was once one of Europe’s largest coal-burning power stations. Now, after replacing coal in its boilers with wood pellets shipped from the U.S. South, the Drax Power Station in Britain claims to be the largest carbon-saving project in Europe. About 23 million tons of carbon dioxide goes up its stacks each year. But because new trees will be planted in the cut forests, the company says the Drax plant is carbon-neutral.

There is one problem. Ecologists say that the claims of carbon neutrality, which are accepted by the European Union and the British government, do not stand up to scrutiny. The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.

Since 2009, the 28 nations of the European Union have embarked on a dramatic switch to generating power from renewable energy. While most of the good-news headlines have been about the rise of wind and solar, much of the new “green” power has actually come from burning wood in converted coal power stations.

Wood burning is booming from Britain to Romania. Much of the timber is sourced locally, which is raising serious concerns among European environmentalists about whether every tree cut down for burning is truly replaced by a new one. But Drax’s giant wood-burning boilers are fueled almost entirely by 6.5 million tons of wood pellets shipped annually across the Atlantic.

Some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon.

In September, some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy [from forest biomass] is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon. Yet just a month later, EU ministers rubber-stamped the existing carbon accounting rules, reaffirming that the burning of wood pellets is renewable energy.

Under the terms of both the UN Paris climate agreement and Europe’s internal rules, carbon losses from forests supplying power stations should be declared as changes to the carbon storage capacity of forest landscapes. But such changes are seldom reported in national inventories. And there is no system either within the EU or at the UN for reporting actual changes in carbon stocks on land, so the carbon is not accounted for at either end — when trees are cut, or when the wood is burned.

Wood burning is turning into a major loophole in controlling carbon emissions. The U.S. could be the next country to take advantage. A federal spending bill that passed the House of Representatives earlier this year directed the Environmental Protection Agency to establish policies “that reflect the carbon neutrality of biomass” and to “encourage private investment throughout the forest biomass supply chain,” paving the way for a boom in American pellet burning.

I have tracked these developments for the past two years; first traveling with Drax to see its U.S. pellet operation, and then investigating the criticisms leveled by European and U.S. forest campaigners. The debate is not clear-cut. Burning wood may be close to carbon neutral in some situations, such as where it is clear that cut trees are replaced with the same trees, one for one; but in others it can emit even more carbon than coal. The trouble is that regulators are ill-placed to tell the difference, which will only be clear decades after the presumed emissions have been tallied — or not — in national carbon inventories.

The one certainty is that if things do not go according to plan, Europe’s promises for meeting its Paris climate commitments will go up in smoke. And the U.S.’s own CO2 emissions could resume their upward path even quicker than President Donald Trump intends.

Europe’s forests have for centuries been cut for household fuel and, in the past century, for local heating plants. But what is happening now is on a very different scale. The change has been fueled by new technology that converts timber into wood pellets that have been heated to remove moisture and compressed, which makes long-distance transportation practical and economic.

Roughly half the cut wood in the EU is now being burned to generate electricity or for heating. And there is growing evidence that the logging is damaging forests and reducing their ability to store carbon.

One region at risk is the Carpathian Mountains, stretching from Austria to Romania. It contains the continent’s largest surviving old-growth forests outside Russia, which are home to up to half the continent’s brown bears, wolves, and lynx.

Widespread illegal logging has been reported in Romania, with the timber exported for burning in power stations in Austria and Germany.

In Romania, Greenpeace and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) have reported widespread illegal logging, with much of the timber exported for burning in power stations in Austria and Germany. The EIA has accused Schweighofer, a company owned by one of Austria’s richest families, of processing illegally-harvested wood from Romania. Its investigator Susanne Breitkopf told me there is “a clear link between illegal logging in Romania and the EU wood pellet market.” The company says it “makes all possible efforts” to keep illegal timber out of its supply chain.

On a visit to the region, I saw strong evidence of a threat to forests in eastern Slovakia, where there was widespread felling of beech forests inside the Poloniny National Park. The roads to the park were all being widened, using EU infrastructure funds, to improve access for heavy vehicles that bring out the timber.

My guide was Peter Sabo of Wolf, an NGO campaigning to protect the country’s forests. He estimates from Slovakian government data that 10 million cubic meters of wood is logged in the country each year, against a sustainable yield of 6 million cubic meters. The difference is almost entirely accounted for by the 3.5 million cubic metres burned for Slovakia’s energy and heating. Yet nowhere do the carbon emissions from this burning turn up in the carbon accounts of Slovakia or the EU.

Sabo and I tracked logs from Poloniny to a power station in the medieval town of Bardejov. The station’s owners insist that, like Drax, the plant only burns low-grade timber that would otherwise go to waste. But on the day I visited, the yard adjacent to the power plant was full of logs a meter or more in diameter being chipped and placed on a large pile within meters of the station’s boilers. Later, in an email, the company’s manager, Stanislav Legat, insisted that “we only use chips. Logs whom you see on the courtyard is not ours [sic].”

Forest cover in Europe is increasing, and the forests are acting as a growing carbon “sink.” But an EU report last year forecast that the growth of Europe’s forest sink will be reduced by more than 30 percent between 2005 and 2030 because of cutting for pellet burning and other changes in land use. It said that “biomass and land use change can be identified as key drivers” in the predicted decline, with pellet-burning plants clearly playing a large part. Yet so far, the resulting releases of carbon to the atmosphere are not included in EU carbon accounting.

Foreign forests have also been targeted to fuel European power stations. For several years, the Swedish state power company Vattenfall imported wood chips from old rubber trees on the giant Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia. The project, part-funded by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. federal agency, had originally promised to light homes in the West African nation. But that never happened, and after the project collapsed in 2012, the wood chips began being shipped to Sweden.

Drax buys on a small scale from Canada and has plans to buy Brazilian wood. But the U.S. has become Europe’s biggest foreign supplier, and Drax has become the test case for whether wood pellets can be a genuine low-carbon energy source. So how does the case stack up?

The Drax power station, which converted from coal to wood fuel, has become a test case for whether pellets can be a low-carbon energy source.

Following conversion of its boilers, two-thirds of the power from the 4,000-megawatt power giant on the east coast of England now comes from burning pellets. The pellets mostly come from three American mills run by the Drax Group — at Amite in Mississippi, and Morehouse and LaSalle in Louisiana — and purchases from other U.S. suppliers, notably Enviva, which has in the process become the world’s largest producer of wood pellets.

Drax says the only carbon footprint from burning those pellets is from the harvesting, processing, and transporting of the wood. It reckons that, overall, converting its power plant from coal to wood saves 12 million tons of CO2 emissions a year, making Drax “the largest carbon-saving project in Europe,” according to its CEO Andy Koss.

The EU and the U.K. both accept that analysis. The British government last year gave the company the equivalent of about $720 million in subsidies to make further conversions to burning wood so as to reduce the country’s carbon emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.


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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 18 Jan 2018, 14:18:04

BIOMASS UNDER FIRE
Is wood a green source of energy? Scientists are divided.

..Yet moves by governments around the world to designate wood as a carbon-neutral fuel—making it eligible for beneficial treatment under tax, trade, and environmental regulations—have spurred fierce debate. Critics argue that accounting for carbon recycling is far more complex than it seems. They say favoring wood could actually boost carbon emissions, not curb them, for many decades, and that wind and solar energy—emissions-free from the start—are a better bet for the climate. Some scientists also worry that policies promoting wood fuels could unleash a global logging boom that trashes forest biodiversity in the name of climate protection.


http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/wood-green-source-energy-scientists-are-divided

Cleaner Than Coal? Wood Power Makes a Comeback
Converting from power plants from coal- to wood-fired may not deliver environmental benefits as advertised.


Canada already sends wood pellets abroad for power generation, but it is now leveraging the resource on a large scale in its own backyard. Atikokan will be the largest commercial power plant in North America to convert from coal to biomass, a trend that has caught on worldwide, especially in Europe.

The retrofit is part of Ontario's plan to be the first jurisdiction in North America to shut down its coal fleet. In Europe the drive to retrofit coal-fired power plants to biomass comes from the European Union Renewable Energy Directive, which calls for 20 percent of energy to come from renewables, including biomass, by 2020. Much of Europe's wood pellets are being imported from private forests in the southeastern U.S. as well other parts of North America.


https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wood-power-makes-comeback/

North America appears to be exporting a considerable amount of carbon to Europe in the form of biomass chips and pellets. Unfortunately this is thinning the forest floor and removing even more carbon in the soil, which becomes another source of atmospheric carbon dioxide not being accounted for in power plant emissions calculations.

As with uranium mining/refining and coal production and transport, biomass and wood chip production will abruptly cease when petroleum fuels become unaffordable. As attractive an idea as it is to convert a coal plant to biomass burning, it is in fact merely setting us up for an even more intense crash when petroleum fuel production tapers off. (Or "crashes to near zero" if you favor the Seneca Cliff scenario.)

It seems to me that a case can be made for local consumption of the waste biomass after the usable wood is fashioned into structures and furniture, effectively sequestering carbon for the life of such durable goods, and minimizing the fuels used to transport the wood. But the biomass ashes and remaining nutrients need to be returned to the forest after being treated to reduce acidity, and fertilizers are needed to replenish those lost to burning. Just how much fertilizers are diverted to forests versus food crops is an interesting calculation.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby pstarr » Thu 18 Jan 2018, 15:27:17

Does Biomass Still Have A Place In Humboldt County’s Energy Future?
Traditionally, one-third of the county’s energy production has come from converting woody biomass to energy. But local biomass power plants are closing, just as the county is trying to join the likes of Sonoma and Marin counties in taking over its own energy rates and encourage more locally-sourced power.

Timber is still big business here, redwood and douglas fir. But sadly it seems we no longer make our own power with the wood slash and trash.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 18 Jan 2018, 16:03:46

However the biomass is consumed - energy production or lawn fertilizer - the net result would appear to be (especially in the case of slow growing hardwoods) that hundreds of years of slowly grown dense wood have been consumed in the past few years.

Frankly, understanding the whole carbon cycle in forests is a little daunting. I do actually believe that for the sake of the environment, we should be returning a considerable amount of our cleared lands to forest biomes. In the coastal areas of Lake Michigan I am focussed on, there are some quite attractive parcels that are fundamentally second growth forest. These were clear-cut in the early 19th century from primordial forests of mixed hardwoods and evergreens. Then they spent decades - sometimes more than a century - as cattle pastures producing dairy products. This caused more rapid erosion on the Western banks of the Lake. As populations grew in the MidWest, these areas became more valuable as homesites - thus the second growth forests. Not enough of them - I'd prefer that we had a solid mile or so of forest around the lakes - but a fair amount.

Now for some speculation. The use of human wastes for fertilizers is a dangerous practice, as they contain traces of heavy metals and antibiotics and a whole slew of other substances. It is probably not a sound practice to use such wastes for the fertilization of food crops. Is there not an opportunity here to re-grow forests and replenish soil carbons from human-sourced fertilizers?

OTOH, we do produce things such as maple syrups and honey from forests, and I for one love such naturally flavored sugars. I don't know if it's a sound long term practice, but even if we only did so for a short while, we could give reforested areas a jump start with human fertilizers. Once we have a sustainable form of forestry going, we could use the wood ashes from energy production to amend the soils and stimulate continued growth.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 18 Jan 2018, 19:56:31

KaiserJeep wrote: Once we have a sustainable form of forestry going, we could use the wood ashes from energy production to amend the soils and stimulate continued growth.
I have to doubt that the ashes from a wood burning facility returned to the forest land the wood came from would be sufficient to increase growth or the health of the ecosystem. A rotting log laying on the forest floor returns every molecule it contains to the forest floor and the host of life forms that depend on it. The same log burned in a power plant loses much of it's nutrients up the smoke stack and it's ashes as valuable as they are are not a complete substitute for the natural system of leaf fall and decomposition of fallen timber.
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Re: THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 18 Jan 2018, 21:19:40

Yes, I agree with that. Organic supplements are needed. Lawn clippings, other yard wastes, cut brush, etc. could be used, as such organics do not belong in landfills. Here in Silicon Valley, we have general rubbish collection (landfill), mixed plastics/metals/glass/clean fiber recycling in another can, and yard wastes which get composted at high temperatures that supposedly sterilize the weed seeds. That last is heaped at the curb, scooped up by a machine, and collected on a seperate truck.

Such compost, amended with waste wood chips and bark, plus the aforementioned ashes, plus carefully selected chemical supplements, could be used in forests. I'd like to say "natural forest management", but that really is more applicable to unoccupied parklands than the medium density populated areas around lakes, many of which are of manmade origin in the first place.
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