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THE Biofuel Thread pt 6

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 16 Sep 2014, 18:09:33

Left Out of the Energiewende?

On May 6, 2014 I posted a blog entitled “Biomass is Base Load".The blog was essentially an airing of my own frustration at how biomass is often an overlooked form of renewable energy in the mainstream media. I’m sure you can all relate. Again and again, wind and solar carry the broader public persona of renewable energy at large. The problem is, by looking over biomass and letting biomass derived energy recede in the public’s consciousness, myths and half-truths find fertile ground in the mind of Joe and Jane Citizen and take root.

Look no further than this Sunday’s New York Times. A lengthy, well written piece by Justin Gillis, who writes frequently about energy and climate change appeared in the A section, just below the fold. The piece’s title? Sun and Wind Transforming Global Landscape. The article is well-written and certainly worth your time. In it, Gillis catches up with the ongoing transformation of Germany’s energy infrastructure and the global implications of that shift. He even introduces the reader to the word Germans use to describe this transformation, energiewende. To be fair to Gillis, he does mention biofuels and biogas in the article, but he’s also guilty of propagating one of the more frustrating inaccuracies for those of us working in biomass. In his piece, while talking about the challenges of folding renewables into Germany’s power mix he writes, “The Achilles’ heel of renewable power is that it is intermittent, so German utilities have had to dial their conventional power plants up and down rapidly to compensate.”

There it is again. Renewables are intermittent. Some renewables are intermittent. Biomass is not. Most frustrating for me is that while Gillis does talk about biogas, he doesn’t mention that biogas is not only base load power, but in the right situations also able to be quickly dispatched to cover the intermittency of our wind and solar cousins.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 17 Sep 2014, 17:51:27

Scientific Endorsement of Biomass’s Carbon Benefits

Last month, the Journal of Forestry published a scientific, peer-reviewed study by nine respected scientists and forestry experts confirming the virtues of biomass—not just as an energy source, but also as an important element for forestry health and atmospheric carbon management.


The scientists, from USDA Forest Service as well as prominent universities and think tanks, in no uncertain terms, argued for policies that recognize the long-term benefits of biomass power, warning that not doing so could result in the loss of a valuable carbon mitigation tool, stating, “The current debate about biomass energy often narrows the discussion to short-term and direct effects of increased use of forest biomass, understating the benefits of using sustainably produced forest-based fuels and materials.…Carbon accounting frameworks often misrepresent the CO2 impacts of using biomass fuels and put at risk many of the mitigation benefits and opportunities provided by sustainably managed forests and the products that flow from them.”


The findings included in the Journal of Forestry report echo this opinion. The authors of the study presented four key findings they recommended be reflected in any biomass policy framework:

• Substantial long-term carbon mitigation benefits are derived from sustainably managed working forests that provide an ongoing output of biomass to produce materials and fuels to displace more greenhouse gas-intensive alternatives. While the timing of benefits is debated, the fact that these benefits exist is not.

• The threats to maintaining long-term forest carbon stocks come primarily from pressures to convert land to nonforest uses and from natural disturbances. Research clearly shows that demand for wood results in investments in forestry that help to prevent deforestation and incentivize afforestation.

• The most effective mitigation measures are those that provide the lowest long-term net cumulative emissions. The benefits of forest-based mitigation activities are sometimes delayed, but any increased emissions are reversible and temporary and are incurred in the interest of limiting cumulative emissions.

• Proper characterization of the global warming impacts of the mix of forest biomass sources likely to be used for energy shows net emissions of biogenic carbon to be low when including the effects of market-induced investments.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 25 Sep 2014, 18:34:49

Biomass could reach 60% of total global renewable energy use by 2030

Biomass has a highly promising future in the world’s supply of renewable energy, according to a new report.

REmap 2030, the global roadmap developed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), foresees a major role for modern, sustainable biomass technologies in efforts to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

A new report, “Global Bioenergy Supply and Demand Projections for the Year 2030,” examines the biomass potential in world regions and with different technologies for rapid and sustainable scale-up of this vital renewable energy resource.

If all the technology options envisaged in the REmap analysis are deployed, total biomass demand could reach 108 exajoules worldwide by 2030, representing 60% of total global renewable energy use. That would be equal to 20% of the total primary energy supply.

“Sustainable bioenergy has the potential to be a game-changer in the global energy mix,” said IRENA Director of Innovation and Technology Dolf Gielen. “Sustainably sourced biomass, such as residues, and the use of more efficient technology and processes can shift biomass energy production from traditional to modern and sustainable forms, simultaneously reducing air pollution and saving lives.”

The new IRENA report shows that approximately 40% of the total global biomass supply potential would originate from agricultural residues and waste, with another 30% originating from sustainable forestry products.

These biomass sources do not compete with the resources that are required for food production such as land and water, and can make a significant contribution to reducing the global CO2 emission on 450ppm path, the widely accepted threshold to limit global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 03 Oct 2014, 17:51:39

ARPA-E to award $60M to 2 programs: enhancing biomass yield and dry-cooling for thermoelectric power

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will award up to $60 million to two new programs ($30 million each). The Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program (DE-FOA-0001211) seeks to accelerate biomass yield gains (especially energy sorghum) through automated, predictive and systems-level approaches to biofuel crop breeding. The Advanced Research In Dry cooling (ARID) program (DE-FOA-0001197) aims to develop low-cost, highly efficient and scalable dry-cooling technologies for thermoelectric power plants.

TERRA. ARPA-E posited that there is an urgent need to accelerate energy crop development for the production of renewable transportation fuels from biomass. While recent advances in technology has enabled the extraction of massive volumes of genetic, physiological, and environmental data from certain crops, the data still cannot be processed into the knowledge needed to predict crop performance in the field. This knowledge is required to improve the breeding development pipeline for energy crops.


The majority of the electricity generated in the US today is produced by steam-driven turbine generators that rely on cooling systems, which use water to dissipate waste heat. Dry-cooling systems—which use air to cool and transfer waste heat—are an appealing and potentially transformational alternative. To date, significant technical and market challenges have hindered the widespread use of dry-cooling technologies. Some of these challenges are lower heat-transfer performance and operational control, as well as prohibitively high costs due to system size and maintenance. ARID project teams will work to overcome these key barriers to adoption.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 20 Oct 2014, 19:01:37

Biomass proving a cost-effective energy solution

Woody biomass is quietly expanding as a viable, cost-effective energy alternative to fossil fuels in America.

Though this natural, renewable and locally produced resource will never supply all of our nation’s energy needs, when operated in concert with sustainable forest management, it can be an effective energy option in both rural and urban areas.

Energy-efficient commercial and industrial woody biomass boiler systems of various types and sizes are gradually building an excellent track record in schools, hospitals and municipal complexes across the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest states —including at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Chillicothe.

This past August, we took a look back at three recently installed biomass energy demonstration projects at facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to see whether the longer-term results lived up to their expectations.

What we found out was that, regardless of the location or facility type, woody biomass energy systems achieved excellent results over the long term. Representatives from all three facilities also said they would recommend their biomass plant solutions to other facilities with similar needs and resources.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 29 Oct 2014, 15:55:24

Global biopower capacity 'will double by 2025'

Global biopower installed capacity is set to increase from 87.6 Gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to 165.1GW by 2025 thanks to government support and environmental concerns.

That's according to new statistics released this week by consulting firm GlobalData, which reveals that the 165GW target could be enough to supply around 17% of the world's electricity.

Biopower is the use of biomass, such as woodchips, to generate electricity. Most of the biopower plants in the world use a direct-fired systems, where bioenergy feedstocks are burnt directly to produce steam. This steam is usually captured by a turbine, and a generator then converts it into electricity.


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Biomass

Unread postby dashster » Fri 21 Nov 2014, 21:40:25

When renewables are talked about, or when all energy sources are listed or graphed, there is always a category for "biomass". What are some examples of biomass in use other than burning wood in your fireplace or stove?
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 21 Nov 2014, 22:13:33

dashster wrote:When renewables are talked about, or when all energy sources are listed or graphed, there is always a category for "biomass". What are some examples of biomass in use other than burning wood in your fireplace or stove?
Here in timber country our electricity is produced both by natural gas and wood-waste generation. Wood chips from the mills are delivered by truck.

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Re: Biomass

Unread postby dashster » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 00:18:10

pstarr wrote:
dashster wrote:When renewables are talked about, or when all energy sources are listed or graphed, there is always a category for "biomass". What are some examples of biomass in use other than burning wood in your fireplace or stove?
Here in timber country our electricity is produced both by natural gas and wood-waste generation. Wood chips from the mills are delivered by truck.

Image


Thanks for the info. That is something the way they lift that truck.
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby Karle » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 12:10:50

In Germany there is a guy who is heating his house with biomass, and plans to heat a greenhouse as well.

He uses heat from the composting process, and puts in everything biomass, even kitchen waste and all sort of weeds. The whole process is controlled by an Arduino.

On his website there is only limited info in German http://autark-heizen.blogspot.de/ , however, I am in contact with him and I know that things are working really well. He had a lot of people who were interested to use his technology for the greenhouses, however, it seems they are too sceptical when it comes to spend money, and he is working low key for the time being.

He said there are three advantages:
Recyle biomass waste
Generate heat, be it water or air
And the end product is garden compost which he improves with worm castings
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby Loki » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 12:51:35

Here's an older chart showing biomass/biogas in Oregon in 2004:

Image

A couple food waste digesters have been built recently---I believe they mostly use municipal waste---as well as at least one large biomass plant (18.8 MW) that uses wood waste.
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 14:02:06

Pulping liquor comes from paper mills, stuff that is no good for paper, lignin, hemicelluloses, is often called 'Black Liquor' or something and considered pollutants. They probably burn it to get rid of it, the energy-cost to dry it, fluff it, etc. has to be prohibitive and I doubt it has a good eroei.
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby Loki » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 18:56:55

pstarr wrote:Pulping liquor comes from paper mills, stuff that is no good for paper, lignin, hemicelluloses, is often called 'Black Liquor' or something and considered pollutants. They probably burn it to get rid of it, the energy-cost to dry it, fluff it, etc. has to be prohibitive and I doubt it has a good eroei.

Didn't you hear? EROEI is nonsense (warning: profoundly stupid content). :lol:

A quick google of the EROEI of black liquor didn't reveal much. Devil would be in the details. Even if <1, it's a way to get rid of something that used to be discharged directly into rivers. Regardless, biomass only makes up 0.54% of Oregon's electricity generation.

Black liquor does apparently make an excellent bio-methanol feedstock (p. 42).
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby Loki » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 19:10:41

Forgot to add this piece from Wikipedia on black liquor. Sounds like the gasification process would increase EROEI. Even so, black liquor is pretty marginal as energy sources go. Even in Oregon--God's timber country--it only accounts for a quarter of a percent or so of our electricity.

New waste-to-energy methods to recover and utilize the energy in the black liquor have been developed. The use of black liquor gasification has the potential to achieve higher overall energy efficiency than the conventional recovery boiler while generating an energy-rich syngas from the liquor. The syngas can be burnt in a gas turbine combined cycle to produce electricity (usually called BLGCC for Black Liquor Gasification Combined Cycle; similar to IGCC) or converted through catalytic processes into chemicals or fuels such as methanol, dimethyl ether (DME), or F-T diesel (usually called BLGMF for Black Liquor Gasification for Motor Fuels)....

Used for biofuels production the black liquor gasification route has been shown to have very high conversion efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction potential.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_liquor#Gasification
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Re: Biomass

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 22 Nov 2014, 19:38:40

Our last pulp mill shut down several years ago, yet the county is still straddled with the black-crap and trying to deal with it. So we have biomass electricity generation, yet the black-crap sits in a tank awaiting 'remediation'.

Ain't green great! (snark snark snark)
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 05 Dec 2014, 17:18:57

Over 1,200 new biomass power plants to be constructed within the next 10 years

Electricity generation from solid biomass continues to increase throughout the world. In late 2013, around 2,800 operational power plants worldwide were incinerating biomass only or very large shares of this fuel. These plants had an electricity generation capacity of about 42 GWel. Additionally, around 350 fossil power plants were co-incinerating biomass. In 10 years, there will be approximately 4,100 active plants with a capacity of around 67 GWel. In 2014 alone, approximately 170 new power plants with electricity generation capacities of around 3.6 GWel will be constructed.

The subsidisation of renewable energies will remain the most important market factor for the development of electricity generation from biomass. Until early 2014, around 140 countries had introduced policies for such a subsidisation. Most of them also had schemes for electricity generation from solid biomass at that time. Vietnam, for instance, introduced a feed-in tariff for biomass electricity some months ago. Around 40 countries throughout the world have such compensations. Other countries have different support schemes. Columbia, for instance, has recently reduced the turnover tax on biomass electricity and Mexico has facilitated the access to the grid for this type of electricity.

Europe will remain the largest market for electricity generation from solid biomass in the 10 years to come. In late 2013, Europe had around 1,200 active biomass power plants. This number will increase to approximately 1,750 by late 2023. The European market, however, is very fragmented and preconditions for investments differ significantly in the individual countries. Whereas more plants than ever are being built in Great Britain and France, Spain, Latvia and the Czech Republic have reduced or even stopped their subsidisation systems. Germany still grants, by international comparison, high subsidies. The system, however, has lost most of its incentive effects as all favourable locations have been developed for years.


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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 05 Dec 2014, 18:17:55

There is so much wrong with each of these recent articles, Graeme.

--sugar-cane bagasse has been burned at sugar mills for energy for a century. It is not new, exciting, or worth a post here.

--forest wood waste is not an energy source. It is a by-product of a much more valuable timber-products industry. Such is the case in Europe and most of the world.

--In tropical countries mentioned (Indonesia, Philippines, etc.) such timbering is worse (as well as biofuel palm-oil plantations) because it destroys endangered habitat.

--none of these ecological travesties replace petroleum.
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 05 Dec 2014, 18:49:15

The countries concerned think otherwise. They have made their choice for sustainable power. I've been to the Philippines and Indonesia where I've witnessed destruction of forests. However, I understand that the Philippine local and federal governments are undertaking reforestation programs. Not sure what's happening in Indonesia. We've discussed palm oil before, and like you I'm against it. In any case, it's not biomass. Biomass power is not a substitute for petroleum, never will be. It could help power electric vehicles though. I'm merely reporting significant trends in biomass power. If you have a better suggestion, please post.
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 05 Dec 2014, 19:07:22

I see. Indonesia labels rainforest destruction 'sustainable' and you must agree? The dictators Suharto massacured hundreds of thousands in East Timor protesting rainforest destruction and he called it "re-education." He must have been correct also? After all, it's in a green blog.
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Re: Biomass Thread

Unread postby Graeme » Sat 06 Dec 2014, 17:15:29

See Reforestation thread for latest announcement by Indonesian government on their reforestation plan.
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