Skip to comments.Net Benefits of Biomass Power Under Scrutiny
Posted on 06/19/2010 5:16:24 AM PDT by Titus-Maximus
GREENFIELD, Mass. Matthew Wolfe, an energy developer with plans to turn tree branches and other woody debris into electric power, sees himself as a positive force in the effort to wean his state off of planet-warming fossil fuels.
Its way better than coal, Mr. Wolfe said, if you look at it over its life cycle.
Not everyone agrees, as evidenced by lawn signs in this northwestern Massachusetts town reading Biomass? No Thanks.
In fact, power generated by burning wood, plants and other organic material, which makes up 50 percent of all renewable energy produced in the United States, according to federal statistics, is facing increased scrutiny and opposition.
That, critics say, is because it is not as climate-friendly as once thought, and the pollution it causes in the short run may outweigh its long-term benefits.
The opposition to biomass power threatens its viability as a renewable energy source when the country is looking to diversify its energy portfolio, urged on by President Obama in an address to the nation Tuesday. It also underscores the difficult and complex choices state and local governments face in pursuing clean-energy goals.
Biomass proponents say it is a simple and proved renewable technology based on natural cycles. They acknowledge that burning wood and other organic matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just as coal does, but point out that trees and plants also absorb the gas. If done carefully, and without overharvesting, they say, the damage to the climate can be offset.
But opponents say achieving that sort of balance is almost impossible, and carbon-absorbing forests will ultimately be destroyed to feed a voracious biomass industry fueled inappropriately by clean-energy subsidies. They also argue that, like any incinerating operation, biomass plants generate all sorts of other pollution, including particulate matter.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
There are other plants like arundo donax that can produce over 40 tons per year per acre in Florida while yellow pine only produces 6. Plantation models can produce power at Co2 neutrality, the cost is another factor.
they could use the CO2 for algae farms
And you are precisely right that it is "young" trees that suck up CO2. "Old Growth" forests are the WORST system for natural CO2 "recycling".
The article isn’t too simplistic for it’s real purpose, which is to push the de-energization of America. In the end, the environmentalists don’t want “clean energy”, they want “no energy”.
That’s what’s behind the push to call CO2 a pollutant, when it is a natural part of the life cycle and doesn’t in fact contribute either to medical problems OR global warming, the two things “pollutants” are supposed to do.
No, what those BEHIND the environmentalists want is to re-invent feudalism, with megacities replacing the "Lord's Manor" and themselves as the new aristocracy. Force all those independent types out of their suburbs and rural small towns, and suck them into the megacities.
This is a MAJOR reason for the war against the automobile and the push for "mass transit".
Call it "urban feudalism". The current most blatant example.....Chicago.
So the trees only absorb CO2 from burnt biomass, but not from oil created CO2? Who put the filters on the trees?
Biomass energy is also another term for burning firewood. Using the logic in this article, when the power is out, it is still wrong to burn fire wood to keep warm.
I have a friend who is building a plantation in Brazil to produce oilseed trees for biomass energy purposes. He is looking for investors.
I wasn’t able to get the link to work so don’t know if the article discussed the use of corn to produce ethanol—and its effect on the price of corn to consumers, especially third world poor.