Wood Pellets are 3x to 4x More Expensive Than Coal And Produce More CO2.

UPDATE: See 1.5 year old numbers for coal versus wood in USA at bottom

I’m not a big fan of coal. But I do oppose stupidity. Switching from coal (which produces CO2 and particulate matter when burned) with wood pellets (which produces CO2 and particulate matter when burned) that kill forests seems kind of dumb.

How much CO2 and particulate matter is hard to find out. This post suggests wood pellets produce more CO2 than coal when you account for all of the transportation costs.

This article suggests wood pellets costs 150 to 200 a ton when coal is going for 51$ a ton.

“Wood pellets are much more expensive, about $150 to $210 a ton, compared to about $51 for coal in Newcastle, Australia, the global benchmark. Lyra wouldn’t provide a price for sugar-cane pellets, though he said they’re “competitive” with wood.

These products don’t compete on price,” said Lyra. “Companies that are looking to use renewables as a replacement have assets fueled by coal that has a deadline to disappear.”

It would make sense ( in the green stupidity way) to replace coal with trees and then pay 4x the cost and still produce lots of CO2.

As for CO2, the above referenced article says:

“Bagasse pellets emit about one-16th the carbon dioxide of coal, when burned in Brazil

That is the key. If you transport the pellets (whether wood or sugar cane) it produces a lot more CO2.

This article is interesting.

“Burning wood pellets releases as much or even more carbon dioxide per unit of energy as burning coal, so in order for burning pellets to be carbon-neutral the carbon emitted into the atmosphere has to be recaptured in regenerated forests, Abt says. Residual wood, such as tree thinnings and unused tree parts left over at timber mills, is the best material for wood pellets, says Abt. But he and others say that not enough of such waste wood exists to feed the growing demand for wood pellets.

So the industry has turned to whole trees.”

Ouch!

“The accounting now used for assessing compliance with carbon limits in the Kyoto Protocol and in climate legislation contains a far-reaching but fixable flaw that will severely undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals (1). It does not count CO2 emitted from tailpipes and smokestacks when bioenergy is being used, but it also does not count changes in emissions from land use when biomass for energy is harvested or grown. This accounting erroneously treats all bioenergy as carbon neutral regardless of the source of the biomass, which may cause large differences in net emissions. For example, the clearing of long-established forests to burn wood or to grow energy crops is counted as a 100% reduction in energy emissions despite causing large releases of carbon.”

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/326/5952/527.summary

UPDATE:

“The cost of a unit of electricity consumed within the U.S. ranged between $171 and $175.40 per MWh, depending upon the pine rotation age. The cost of pulpwood procurement (stumpage, logging, and pulpwood transportation) was about 26 percent of the overall cost across rotation ages. Manufacturing of wood pellets and generation of electricity at the power plant contributed about 30 and 40 percent, respectively, toward the overall cost of a unit of electricity across rotation ages. The average unit cost was $173 per MWh, which was 73 percent and 157 percent higher than the average obtained from coal, at $100 per MWh, and natural gas, at $67 per MWh, respectively.

This cost differential is the main reason U.S. electric utilities show little interest in utilizing wood pellets. Therefore, special policy incentives will be needed to promote wood pellets as a potential feedstock, instead of coal and natural gas.”

http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/10903/how-pellets-compare-to-fossil-fuels-in-carbon-intensity-and-cost

 

 

 

 

 

Another UK Coal Power Plant Converted To Burn US Wood

This is just insane.

Burning wood pellets releases as much or even more carbon dioxide per unit of energy as burning coal.

 

“One of Britain’s dozen remaining coal-fired power plants is to be converted to burn wood pellets shipped in from North America, after the European Commission approved a £1bn subsidy contract for the project.

RWE’s Lynemouth power station in Northumberland is due to close by the end of this year under environmental rules, but will now be resurrected as a biomass plant following EU state aid approval for the consumer-funded subsidies.

The 420 megawatt plant, which produces enough electricity to power 450,000 homes, could be up and running again within 18 months, subject to a final investment decision early next year, RWE said.

The decision also boosted Drax, the Yorkshire coal plant that is awaiting state aid approval of a similar subsidy contract for the conversion of one of its units to burn biomass.”

http://www.thegwpf.com/green-madness-coal-plant-gets-green-light-to-burn-american-wood-pelets

 

DRAX – Grotesque Environmental Charade

The Big Crazy Forest killing DRAX is still destroying the environment.

Drax’s conversion to run half of its output on biomass means it will have to rely on wood from trees cut down in forests in America. The Sixties power station’s giant furnaces are being loaded with wood pellets carried 3,800 miles across the Atlantic in diesel-guzzling ships.

This grotesque environmental charade is being funded by government subsidies for the conversion of its coal-burning furnaces to biomass ones, which will put an estimated £23 on every family’s annual household energy bills for the next 13 years.

The vast generators of Drax are now living, humming, forest-destroying symbols of the shameful absurdity of European energy policies, and an extraordinary rebuke to this Coalition government, which claims, ever more ludicrously, to be saving the planet.

Already, the power station imports more than one million metric tons of wood pellets from the U.S. Much of this is derived from ancient deciduous trees in North Carolina.

Three months ago, 60 eminent American scientists wrote to Ed Davey pleading with him to stop ignoring the basic science and pressing on with a policy that was denuding their glorious forests.

They wrote: ‘Recent advances in science and accounting for pollution from different types of woody biomass have clarified that burning trees to produce electricity actually increases carbon emissions compared with fossil fuels for many decades and contributes to other air pollution problems.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2783061/LUNACY-The-Lib-Dem-energy-minister-switched-biggest-power-station-coal-wood-brought-diesel-guzzling-ships-U-S-The-result-It-costs-fortune-emits-pollution.html

 

The Incredibly Stupid Journey – Wood to DRAX

The Incredibly Stupid Journey graphic from the Daily Mail article on the trees journey from the USA to the DRAX wood burning power plant in the U.K.

MoS2 Template Master

Isn’t this insane?

The UK is committed by law to a radical shift to renewable energy. By 2020, the proportion of Britain’s electricity generated from ‘renewable’ sources is supposed to almost triple to 30 per cent, with more than a third of that from what is called ‘biomass’.

The only large-scale way to do this is by burning wood

So the UK is switching from burning high-CO2 coal to even higher-CO2 wood imported from the USA.

In the longer term, the Government has decreed that customers will pay £105 per MW/hr for Drax’s biomass electricity” … instead of the going rate of  £50 per MW/hr.

This quote is hilarious and sad. “‘We’re a power company. We’ve been told to take coal out of the equation. What would you have us do – build a dirty great windfarm?’”

This is really, really sad. They lied and said they didn’t use whole trees, but they do. And then they said they grew back quickly. But they don’t.

Clear-cut wetlands cannot be replanted” and it could take 100 years to regrow.

Read it all and weep over what the insane AGW Cult has brought about.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581887/The-bonfire-insanity-Woodland-shipped-3-800-miles-burned-Drax-power-station-It-belches-CO2-coal-huge-cost-YOU-pay-cleaner-greener-Britain.html

 

Burn Wood – Save the Planet

I love wood stoves. There is nothing like the heat and sounds and smells of killing and burning a tree. Wood burning is renewable. It produces lots of smoke and CO2. What’s not to love.

And it is catching on!  (h/t Tom Nelson)

“Wood, humanity’s earliest fuel for keeping warm, is being touted these days as the latest thing in renewable energy: a greener, often cheaper way to heat a home or building than burning oil or propane or consuming coal-fired electricity.

Save the coal. Kill and burn a tree.

It’s also less expensive to buy and install than solar panels or geothermal systems, advocates say. It’s the workhorse of renewable energy in Europe and should be in the United States,” said William Strauss, president of a Maine-based consulting firm specializing in what it calls “bioenergy.” He spoke recently at a day-long conference in Annapolis aimed at encouraging more use of wood in Maryland to heat homes, offices, schools and even hospitals.”

Bioenergy. Give tree killing and burning a nice new eco-friendly name and its win win!

Two-thirds of the renewable energy generated in Europe comes from burning wood or other plant-based material”

Sure, Germany and the UK have squandered hundreds of billions on wind and solar, but its good old fashioned CO2 producing burning that does the most work.

While some environmentalists are fully behind expanded reliance on wood-burning for heat, others say that newer stoves and boilers still generate potentially harmful air pollution, especially particulates that can aggravate asthma and cause serious long-term health problems.

They are even dumber than I thought they were.

They also worry that expanding government incentives for wood heat may slow development of other energy sources they think are much greener, such as solar.

Excellent.

And since burning anything to produce energy also puts carbon into the atmosphere, they doubt that promoting wood heat truly helps combat climate change.

Duh!