– by William Strauss, March 15, 2017, Biomass Magazine
The use of U.S.-produced wood pellet fuel blended with coal in large utility power stations could sustain coal mining jobs, create tens of thousands of new jobs in another sector that is experiencing significant job losses—the forest products sector—and stimulate billions of dollars of new investment in new U.S. manufacturing plants.
By supporting the blending of industrial wood pellet fuel with coal in pulverized coal (PC) power plants, policy will lock in the need for PC power plants, therefore guaranteeing significant demand for coal. This well-proven strategy, which is already in place in many other countries, can provide certainty for the need for U.S.-produced coal for decades, and certainty for U.S. coal mining jobs.
– by Matt McGrath, February 23, 2017, BBC News
Using wood pellets to generate low-carbon electricity is a flawed policy that is speeding up not slowing down climate warming.
That’s according to a new study which says wood is not carbon neutral and emissions from pellets are higher than coal.
Subsidies for biomass should be immediately reviewed, the author says.
But the industry rejected the report saying that wood energy cuts carbon significantly compared to fossil fuels.
– by Jess Shankleman, January 31, 2017, Bloomberg
Rocky Mountain Power, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will test a new biomass fuel that may reduce the amount of coal being burned by power plants.
The U.S. utility, which is part of Pacificorp, will use a plant in Utah to test a biomass fuel made by Active Energy Group Plc, Paul Murphy, a spokesman for RMP, said by phone. Active Energy’s fuel, called CoalSwitch, is processed from low-grade forestry residue.
– by Erin Voegele, November 16, 2016, Biomass Magazine
The White House has published a mid-century strategy on decarbonization that addresses biofuels and bioenergy. On Nov. 16, the report was filed with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Paris climate deal.
The White House committed to release the strategy, titled “United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization,” in March. At that time, the administration made a joint statement with Canada that indicated the two countries would work together to implement the Paris agreement as soon as feasible. In addition to implementing their respective Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, the leaders of both countries also committed to completing mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies pursuant to the agreement.
– by Hilary Corrigan, November 8, 2016, Bend Bulletin
Proposed biomass facility for La Pine, Oregon
While two firms continue to develop plans for new biomass facilities in Central Oregon that would produce power and fuel, a utility continues researching whether biomass could run its coal-fired power plant in the region.
Biogreen Sustainable Energy Co., based in Vancouver, Washington, still plans to build a 25 megawatt facility — first suggested in 2009 — on a nearly 20-acre site in La Pine’s industrial park.
“We’re just on hold,” said Rob Broberg, president of the firm.
Building the $75 million project depends on securing a contract to sell the power, likely to a utility in Oregon or California trying to meet requirements for renewable energy.
– by Paul Davenport, October 28, 2016, News OK
Coronado Generating Station (Photo: AZ Central)
An Arizona water and power utility is conducting an experiment to add forest-thinning debris to coal burned by an electricity-generating plant, hoping to make thinning more economical to help avoid devastating wildfires producing runoff that would contaminate reservoirs.
A test conducted Wednesday at the Salt River Project’s Coronado Generating Station near St. Johns in eastern Arizona showed that the plant’s machinery can handle mixing woody biomass material with coal, SRP officials said.
That sets the stage for stage for two 10-day periods of burning biomass in November, said SRP water strategy analyst Ron Klawitter.
Klawitter said SRP then will study costs and other data collected during the planned biomass burns before deciding whether to using forest debris to augment coal as a fuel source on a regular basis.
– by Eric Mortenson, October 24, 2016, Capital Press
Morihara’s company announced it has refined a process for turning logging slash or other biomass into briquettes that can be burned in coal-fired electrical plants such as the one in Boardman, Ore. His company, HM3 Energy Inc., has built a $4 million demonstration plant in Troutdale, Ore., just east of Portland. It plans to license the technology and sell it worldwide. A Japanese firm, New Energy Development Co., has invested $2 million in HM3 and said it will build a production plant at an undisclosed location in Oregon.
The fuel is produced through a method called torrefaction, in which woody debris, crop residue or other plant material is essentially roasted in the absence of oxygen. The end product is a brittle, briquette-looking material that can be crushed and burned.