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THE Global Dimming Thread (merged)

pollution from burning wood

Unread postby johnmarkos » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 18:19:04

I don't have any hard figures on this but my intuition is that if all 6.4 billion of us heated our homes with wood, the planet would choke to death on the fumes. Are there any projections regarding how much pollution hundreds of millions of wood burning stoves would produce in a post-natural gas/post-oil future?

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Unread postby Tyler_JC » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 18:33:30

I wonder how long our tree supply would last. In Africa they are currently burning more wood than can be grown. Also, trees produce oxygen. We might wipe out our air supply trying to heat our homes.
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Unread postby backstop » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 19:07:59

Given the state of the atmosphere, with 33% man-made excess CO2, we certainly shouldn't be burning more wood than we have growing to recover the fuel-wood's carbon content. Quite the reverse in my view: we should be restoring large areas of sustainable forestry for energy yields (preferably interspersed with hill farming) for several decades to come.

Insofar as burning wood displaces fossil fuels, the net result of getting energy from wood for space-heating plus some water-heating and cooking is to reduce the amount of CO2 being added to the atmosphere each year.

However, unless woodstoves are really well set up, they're liable to give unwelcome concentrations of tars and condensates in the smoke. While these materials would naturally return to the ecosystem when the tree falls and rots down, in an urban community they'd be best avoided by converting the wood to woodgas to supply households and enterprises.

The process of gasification also produces surplus heat which can be uses to raise steam for community heating schemes or for driving turbines to generate electricity.

A further advantage of converting to woodgas is that the gas is relatively easily piped across the countryside, particularly when compared with hauling firewood around. This latter point of feedstock-haulage energy-costs is one reason why the largest wood-fired plant in the US is only 50 MW, and that depends on the benefit of a river system to transport its feedstock wood.

Two other wood-sourced energy carriers, namely charcoal and the liquid fuel methanol offer far better energy-density per unit of weight than wood, though charcoal is still relatively bulky for its energy content.

To round off, its worth noting that charcoal is an exceptionally clean-burning fuel widely used across developing countries, but sadly the majority of its production is not sustainably sourced. (Hence a part of the need for widespread sustainable forestry projects). Charcoal's near unique claim is that Sir Frank Whittle, who invented the jet engine in the UK in the '30s, considered paraffin and powdered charcoal as the dual fuel options.

Hope this gives a useful outline of the woodfuel option.
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Unread postby frankthetank » Tue 05 Oct 2004, 22:39:56

People in tropical and even sub-tropical areas should have no need for heated living spaces. How many people does that constitute? I believe newer woodstoves and pellet stoves are very efficient. This will be the only way to heat up here in the northwoods after natural gas peaks or prices spike. Maybe we'll become a nation of migratory humans. Spending summers in the north growing crops and winters in Mexico and South Texas tending the winter crops.
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THE Global Dimming Thread (merged)

Unread postby bobbyboy » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 09:21:52

Just came across this article in the Guardian about "Global Dimming". Seems bad news for solar power: link

Also the BBC are showing a programme about this on 13th January 2005: link
Any thoughts?
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Unread postby stu » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 09:48:57

WOW they still show Charlie Brown and Snoopy. After all these years. :)
Oh yeah Global dimmings bad. Think I'll be watching that tomorrow. Cheers Bobbyboy.
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Unread postby Permanently_Baffled » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 09:54:37

This just gets better and better! So in the next few decades I am going to starve from resource depletion, fry from global warming , drown from flooding, and now I am going to have to suffer this in the dark!! :shock: :? :(
Smegging hell! Makes you wish you were not born! :x
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Unread postby K9P » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 10:30:05

Madpaddy - poor Brit victim - take note ... "Among them they reported that sunshine in Ireland was on the wane.." .

What sunshine was that I wonder? :-D

Unread postby Aaron » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 10:51:12

We published a news article on this I think. Wonderful. What's next? Geeze
The problem is, of course, that not only is economics bankrupt, but it has always been nothing more than politics in disguise... economics is a form of brain damage.

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Re: Global Dimming

Unread postby Guest » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 10:51:40

bobbyboy wrote:Just came across this article in the Guardian about "Global Dimming".Seems bad news for solar power:

'global dimming' - if due to the sun reducing output - is not a threat to solar power but to the life in the planet. Oil, or the lack of it, won't be an issue. Nor will much else. And at some point the sun will swell up and engulf the earth. But that is a few generations forward.

Unread postby Such » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 11:21:23

maybe we reached "peak sun"

Unread postby jesus_of_suburbia_old » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 12:21:50

You'll know what the sun's all about when the lights go out.
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Unread postby Kingcoal » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 13:40:00

Thank god yeast doesn't need sunlight to make alcohol!
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Unread postby uNkNowN ElEmEnt » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 13:53:23

yeah, we can get hammered when it all ends!
Scientists say climate change hitting Rockies hard
(CBC) - Glaciers in Canada's Rocky Mountains are melting fast, scientists say, making them a barometer for climate change in Canada. Some of the glaciers in the mountains have lost 70 per cent of their volume in the past 100 years, scientists say.
The Rocky Mountain glaciers provide most of Western Canada's fresh water. "Every year there is more ice melting than going in. Over the last five years it's accelerated rapidly. The glaciers are really retreating," said University of Calgary climatologist Shawn Marshall.

all our fresh water is disappearing, and here I thought we had the most abundant supply on earth.
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Unread postby Madpaddy » Wed 12 Jan 2005, 15:15:57

Irish News Headline
Panic gripped the citizens of Ireland today when a ball of fire was seen in the skies over Dublin. Scientists at Trinity college urged people to remain calm as the phenomenon while extremely rare in Ireland was actually no cause for alarm. In many parts of the world this ball of fire is a frequent event and even has a name.

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Unread postby BabyPeanut » Thu 13 Jan 2005, 13:38:10
Of the cold summers in the period 1811 to 1817, the year 1816 has gone down in the annals of New England history as "The Year There Was No Summer," the "Poverty Year" and "Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death."
... The most likely cause was volcanic influences. Proponents note that a number of major volcanic eruptions preceded 1816: Soufriére and St. Vincent in 1812: Mayon and Luzon in the Phillippines during 1814; Tambora in Indonesia during 1815. The volcanic theory of climatic influence relates increased volcanic activity with decreased temperatures due to the increased reflection of solar radiation from volcanic dust blown and trapped high in the atmosphere.

Take away the blanket today and into the deep fryer we go.
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Unread postby oowolf » Thu 13 Jan 2005, 14:31:45

The hits just keep on coming! Another warning to agronomists: diversify, diversify...
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THE Global Dimming Thread (merged)

Unread postby Ayoob_Reloaded » Sat 15 Jan 2005, 00:02:13

Global Dimming. Any more of this crap and I'm gonna lose my banana. It's official, this is fucking bullshit. I've had it.
Enough is enough. Peak oil is just about all I can deal with. This just fucking takes the cake.
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Unread postby skateari » Sat 15 Jan 2005, 00:11:54

Dont trip. Were all going to die one day anyways. At least your ensured of an interesting show to watch durring your life time. Enjoying it while its good is about all you can do
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Unread postby Jack » Sat 15 Jan 2005, 00:26:46

It does put a nail into the solar panel option, doesn't it? 8)
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