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Pete Mctree

Is biomass usage sustainable and as green as it is made out to be?

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Over the last few years, I have read countless articles about the usage of biomass as a fuel. A few from government and the power providers shouting it's praises and describing it as both carbon neutral and sustainable and some from others pointing out the negatives e.g. Unsustainable harvesting rates of timber and increased CO2 production when burned when compared to coal or gas. I have even heard rumours of ships full of raw timber being imported and chipped at the dockside.

I have always thought of it as a viable option for smaller users e.g. Individual buildings or homes, but I cannot see the long term (or medium) sustainability of the current level of consumption and production of CO2.

I, like many others here send a significant percentage of my arisings into biomass and I see no harm in this, as we are often limited to other avenues to get rid of bulk chip.

This is a link to an article from the Guardian I read today and It seems to agree with what others detractors have written and puts some salient points on the table, albeit with no solutions.

 

WWW.THEGUARDIAN.COM

Wood pellets are sold as a clean alternative to coal. But is the subsidised bioenergy boom accelerating the climate crisis?

 

 

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It can't be as clean as they make out, as bio mass is wet and only want us to burn dry wood 15% moisture or something near that no way can bio mass be that low. 

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3 minutes ago, woody paul said:

It can't be as clean as they make out, as bio mass is wet and only want us to burn dry wood 15% moisture or something near that no way can bio mass be that low. 

 

Common sense says it, one rule for them and another for us.

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How is huge ships travelling from stateside burning how much oil to get here then burn there trees to fuel British power stations... whole thing was a crock of shit so those in the House of Lords would get paid to heat there huge stately homes instead of having to fork out 20k on heating they now get paid more than that in RHI payments..
when they built cramlington biomass they asked the forestry commission if keilder would be able to supply the demand and the FC said no way !! They built it any way.

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It can't be as clean as they make out, as bio mass is wet and only want us to burn dry wood 15% moisture or something near that no way can bio mass be that low. 

Don't they have special chimney filters?

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It's green in that the trees absorb emmisions and as a general rule the larger boilers are far more efficient than domestic fires so less emmisions. Some are designed for wet wood as well so they're even better again because it doesn't need drying.

 

At current rates though I don't think it's sustainable. The fact we have to import wood shows that.

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4 minutes ago, Stere said:

Don't they have special chimney filters?

From what I learnt about it, the fire is at around 1000'c the smoke goes through a cylone seperator and then an electrostatic precipitator or a filter. From there it goes through a giant catalytic converter to remove NOx, then they go through another condenser so they are at around 50'c. Then you get an output of cool, clean, co2. 

Basically if you burn a fire hot enough then it burns cleanly, stick it through an industrial sized catalytic converter to burn the rest and then cyclone and statically filter out the solids before releasing the CO2

 

I am pretty sure that biomass is dried before use though,

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1 minute ago, gdh said:

At current rates though I don't think it's sustainable. The fact we have to import wood shows that.

The only way that biomass is sustainable is if we are growing trees at a higher rate than we are using them to offset the CO2 from transport etc. It doesn't seem that we are doing that at the moment, especially as we are importing biomass

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4 minutes ago, Paddy1000111 said:

I am pretty sure that biomass is dried before use though,

By burning more biomass?

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7 minutes ago, Peasgood said:

By burning more biomass?

Surely only the very first batch would be wet? Then any further wet biomass would be dried by already dried biomass? 

 

 

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