Biomass is a Filthy Con

You know … I don’t agree with Henry A Waxman on much. At all in fact until I read this. But I do on part of this recent article.

And I don’t agree with Waxman that there is urgency on CO2 or climate change.

I only obliquely agree with him because the hypocrisy of a “green” that hates clean natural gas while supporting biomass burning is breathtaking.

Anyway … here is what he has to say:

… the House bill includes a little-known provision that would altogether ignore the carbon pollution emitted by burning biomass—trees and other wood products—to generate power.

Logging companies claim that biomass burned for power is “carbon neutral” – thus, not yielding a net pollution increase. They claim that growing new trees absorbs enough carbon pollution to offset the emissions created by burning mature trees. In effect, they assert that wood power is as clean as solar or wind electricity. This is simply not true. The reality is that burning biomass to generate electricity can produce more carbon pollution than it saves by replacing coal.

This biomass loophole would increase carbon pollution at a time when it is imperative that we reduce it. New trees require up to a century of growth to absorb enough carbon dioxide to offset pollution from mature tree combustion. Worse, there is no guarantee that replacement trees planted today to offset the pollution will survive that long. And even if the new trees eventually offset this pollution after a century, climate change is happening now. We can’t wait.

Notice the BS he is trying to peddle that only “logging companies” want biomass. Almost every greenie wants biomass. There is tremendous amounts of money involved in biomass and biomass subsidies.

 

Governments around the world are exempting the CO2 and pollution biomass is producing. Its a giant con. As is most of the subsidy farming and green anti-CO2 hysteria.

Ontario Wood Pellets Would Have Produced Less Than Half Of The (net) CO2 as Norwegian Wood Pellets

Ontario is importing “advanced biomass” wood pellets from Norway. See the post here is you are coming in late.

I was looking for total CO2 figures for the Atikokan plant. I haven’t found any yet. But I did find an OPG document showing CO2 production of 4 scenarios at Thunder Bay (which is also burning Norwegian Wood). One of those scenarios is a Natural Gas Combined Cycle power plant. It showed that plant producing a huge amount of CO2 compared to wood pellets. I know that isn’t true from this article.

Then I realized the the wood pellet CO2 numbers are based not on actual amount of CO2, but on the “net CO2” which is CO2 minus the fudge factor applied by the AGW cult to claims that since the trees are renewable most of the CO2 doesn’t really count. (page 10  and 11 here)

The key is where they use the term (net) as in “Green House Gas (GHG) Life Cycle Assessment (net)”

Anyway … back to comparing Ontario Wood Pellets to Norway Wood Pellets.

From this OPG document:

Capture_Norway_CO2

See all that CO2 produced by transporting all those pellets from Norway!

 

Ontario Spent 170 million to Convert a Coal Power Plant to burn Norwegian Wood Pellets

Ontario has shut down its coal power plants. One of those coal power plants was Atikokan. What OPG decided to do (because they needed dispatchable power) was to convert the plant to biomass. And that biomass was wood pellets. Not just any wood pellets. It was “Advanced Biomass”.

Advanced biomass has been treated to withstand exposure to rain, and has handling and storage properties similar to those of coal. It is still in the early stages of development, which is why OPG purchases advanced biomass fuel from Norway.

Before we get to CO2 and squandering hundreds of millions to change from one fuel you burn to anther fuel you burn …. you may ask yourself why you need to make wood pellets waterproof.

Wet biomass catches on fire. Or explodes.

Biomass fuel has a wide range of possible refuse items: pellets, chip logs, forestry, sewage sludge, methane, meat and bone, palm kernels, cereal, sawdust, bioenergy crops, or landfill gas. When a biomass fuel is stored in a pile, waiting for transport or use, the biomass can spontaneously heat through oxidation. In order for this to happen, three conditions must sync: rate of heat generation, air supply, and insulation properties of the immediate surroundings. With most biomass material, there is a high moisture content combined with air and/or bacterial fermentation – both of which can cause spontaneous combustion through oxidation.

Back to CO2. The study I have referenced before told us that wood pellets (especially those transported long distances like USA to UK) produce way more CO2 than coal. So I would assume that if you buy wood pellets from Norway, your power plant is producing more CO2 than if you had not spent 170 million and were still burning coal.

CO2emissions

 

‘Green’ logic confuses me.Killing Norwegian forests and turning the wood into special waterproof pellets and then using a lot of fossil fuel to ship it to Ontario to burn in a closed down resurrected coal power plant seems crazy to me.

 

SaveTheCoal

 

 

 

Word of the Day: Sewage Sludge

Ok. Technically Sewage Sludge is a phrase.

The other day I was talking about cofiring. And I discovered that one of the fuels they cofire alongside coal is sewage sludge.

What is sludge?

Up to 95 percent is water. But it starts as wastewater, which is a mix of food, paper, diapers, plant mater, feces, condoms, sanitary napkins, paints, pesticides, bacteria, pathogens, pharmaceuticals, sand, metal particles, road salt, insects and gases.

I think I would prefer 100% coal.

 

Word of the Day: Cofiring and more CO2

Cofiring: the combustion of two different types of materials at the same time.

This word may not be new to many of you (or some of you) but it was to me. Or course I have mocked the idea of replacing coal with wood since burning wood from the USA creates more CO2 than coal. The DRAX post from the other day points out that even DRAX’s own study showed more CO2 from wood pellets than from coal.

And destroying forests to produce more CO2 in the atmosphere seems to me to be amazingly stupid.

So I’ve been investigating to see what kind of cofiring goes on and how much CO2 is produced. The really important terms are Total CO2 and Net CO2 and CO2 neutral.

Total CO2 refers to the gross emissions of CO2 from this power plant.

Net CO2 refers to the emissions of CO2 from the fossil fuel used in this power plant, since biomass is assumed to be CO2 neutral. Gross CO2 and net CO2 will be the same where only fossil fuel is used.

In my opinion the concept of CO2 neutral is bogus. CO2 is CO2. If you generate 600MW of power and you care about CO2 then it shouldn’t matter whether you use coal or sewage sludge or any other biomass. It should be total CO2. (Not completely true because other things are produced from coal power plants like SO2 etc but today we talk CO2)

I came across this paper: A Techno-economic assessment of the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of biomass co-combustion

The paper claims:

Using sustainably-grown biomass as the sole fuel, or co-fired with coal, is an effective way of reducing the net CO2 emissions from a combustion power plant. There may be a reduction in efficiency from the use of biomass, mainly as a result of its relatively high moisture content, and the system economics may also be adversely affected.

Notice the term net CO2 is used. Their conclusions are based on the fallacy that the CO2 produced by burning the biomass is zero. But they were nice enough (honest enough?) to show the figures for total CO2.

The table shows the result of the experiments. The one I highlighted has 4 sections:

PN1: a 600MW power plant burning 100% coal. CO2 = 759 g/kWh
PN2: a 600MW power plant burning 80% coal and 20% straw. 773 g/kWh
PN3: a 600MW power plant burning 80% coal and 20% sewage sludge. 765 g/kWh
PN4: a 600MW power plant burning 80% coal and 20% straw (reburn). 818 g/kWh

In all cases biomass+coal cofiring produces more CO2. And the CO2 numbers don’t take into account transportation of coal or biomass. So locally sourced biomass isn’t a disaster. But wood pellets from the USA produce a lot of CO2 just in transport costs.

Capture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ontario Converts 4,000MW of Coal Power Plant to 44MW of solar

Ontario Canada is converting a 4,000MW coal power plant to a 44MMW solar farm.

“Through the IESO’s new Large Renewable Procurement program, solar providers will receive an average of 15.67 cents/kWh for their clean energy.”

“The province’s pivot toward renewables has not come without significant economic ramifications, however. On-peak power cost consumers 17.5 cents/kWh in Nov. of 2015, compared to just 9.7 cents/kWh in the same month of 2006, according to the Ontario Energy Board—an 80 per cent hike. For off-peak power, Ontarians paid 8.3 cents/kWh in 2015, relative to 3.4 cent/kWh in 2006—or 144 per cent more.”

There was no mention in the story how 44MW of intermittent power can replace 4,000MW of dispatchable power.

There was no mention in the story of how many jobs will be transferred to China or India.

 

 

 

 

Save The Coal: High-Grade Wood Going Up In ‘Biomass’ Smoke

The green plan to destroy forests by burning them in power plants is moving forward. Luckily, all that coal is being saved from being turned into electricity by the brave Biomass Plant Operators.

“Business owners in Cape Breton who rely on the forest for a living say high-quality hardwoods are making their way into Nova Scotia Power’s biomass plant in Point Tupper, consuming a wood supply that instead should be available for value-added businesses such as flooring and lumber.

David Fraser of BA Fraser Lumber in Margaree Valley, Inverness County, says he is seeing fewer quality saw logs and he blames it on Nova Scotia Power’s policy of getting the most amount of biomass fuel for the cheapest price.

Fraser, who runs a sawmill and is also a contractor who supplies wood to customers, said contractors simply can’t afford to separate quality saw logs from lower-quality stands of wood intended for the biomass plant.”

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1206909-high-grade-wood-going-to-point-tupper-biomass-plant-mill-owners

The plant requires 650,000 tonnes of trees per year for the $200 million power plant that only produces 60 Megawatts of power. Nova Scotia is closing coal power plants so they can burn trees instead.

Save The Endangered Coal! Trees are evil and must be burned instead.