[NEWS] Study: Economically Unfeasible to Switch U.S. Coal-Fired Plants to Biomass Without Subsidies

– by Olivia Adams, October 15, 2017, The Red and Black

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Photo: Fast Company

Wood pellets used for biomass energy, an alternative to fossil fuels, are produced right outside of Athens, but do not expect to see biomass energy adopted here. Those pellets are shipped straight to Europe, and new University of Georgia research shows why.

“With global warming, we really want to reduce carbon emissions,” said Dr. Richard Bin Mei, co-author of a study on biomass-produced electricity. “In the United States, unfortunately, we do not have the mandate or government subsidies, so our study looked at whether it is economically feasible to co-fire wood pellets with coal to produce power, and the answer is no, unless the government does the same thing as the EU.”

Bin Mei , a professor in the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and researchers from Purdue University, examined the economics of transitioning to biomass use in a recent study published in the journal Energy Economics.

READ MORE at The Red and Black

3 comments

  • Since when has burning wood pellets rather than coal reduced greenhouse emissions ?

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    • Depends on whether you’re accounting for “biogenic” carbon or not.

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      • As a practical example, the Drax pellet fired power station in England emits 15% t0 20% more CO2 than burning the local coal. Then electricity prices have doubled and subsidies may be as high as $billion p.a. Then the trees that would have served as a carbon sink are gone. How long will people keep believing that burning wood is greenhouse neutral and simply part of the carbon cycle.

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