Category Archives: thermal

[NEWS] Academics Slam Chatham House Bioenergy Report as “Misleading”

– by Liz Gyekye, March 13, 2017, Bioenergy Insight

wood pellets bioenergy insight

Photo: Bioenergy Insight

More than 125 academics have joined the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme (IEA Bioenergy) slamming Chatham House’s recent report on bioenergy, calling it ‘misleading.

The group of academics from across the world and the IEA state that the report “does not present an objective overview of the current state of scientific understanding with respect to the climate effects of bioenergy”.

They are urging the Chatham House author to “reconsider flawed policy recommendations.”

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[NEWS] New Study on Carbon Emissions from Bioenergy

– by Prachi Patel, January 26, 2017, Anthropocene

wood-for-biomass-anthropocene

Photo: Anthropocene

Many climate policies and models consider biomass carbon-neutral. The argument is that carbon emitted during burning the biomass is balanced out by the carbon that plants and trees sequester. But that understanding is flawed.

Biomass is indeed renewable, and burning biomass or biomass-derived fuels can offset fossil fuel use. However, cultivating and harvesting biomass, transporting it, and processing it for energy or to make liquid fuels all emits greenhouse gases. Exactly how the biomass is used—whether directly or turned into fuel—also makes a difference.

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[OPINION] Biomass Energy Facilities Can Worsen Air Pollution

[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Biomass Facilities Play Important Role in Improving Air Quality,” by Bruce Springsteen, Placer County Air Pollution Control District]

– by Jana Ganion, Energy Director, Blue Lake Rancheria

“Particulate matter pollution” — air-borne particles (visible and invisible) that seep into our lungs and environment — is now a proven, dire health hazard, and an environmental harm accelerant.

We can compare the crescendo of information around the health hazards of particulate matter air pollution to the public’s awakening to — and acceptance of — the health hazards of cigarettes. In the case of tobacco, we proceeded from physicians recommending smoking, to understanding that it absolutely causes cancer.

The certainty regarding the dangers of particulate matter air pollution has reached the same point: there is no doubt it damages health — from worsening asthma, to heart and lung disease, to shortened lifespans, and death.

Just type “particulate matter health” in your favorite internet search engine and glance at recommendations from non-partisan, trusted agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency , State of New York, and many others.

In an interesting recent article from the Wall Street Journal, “Does Poor Air Quality Hurt Stock-Market Returns?”, economist researchers from both Columbia University and University of Ottawa found that on bad-air days in New York City, when 2.5 micron particulate matter (PM2.5, invisible particles most dangerous to human health) were at high levels, stock market prices went down by ~12%. It seems that when people can’t breathe well, they get “risk averse.”

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[NEWS] Is Burning Wood CO2 Neutral?

– by Willem Post, November 30, 2016, Energy Collective

trees_energy_collective

Photo: Energy Collective

The EU and US have declared, “Burning wood is CO2-neutral.” East Europe and the US Southeast still have significant areas with forests. Starting about 2005, major parts of these forests have been harvested by means of clear-cutting. In 2016, about 6.5 million metric ton of wood pellets will be shipped from the US Southeast to Europe for co-firing in coal-fired power plants. The EU authorities in Brussels have declared these coal plants in compliance with EU CO2/kWh standards, because biomass is renewable and the CO2 of wood burning is not counted.

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[NEWS] White House Decarbonization Report Addresses Bioenergy

– by Erin Voegele, November 16, 2016, Biomass Magazine

whitehouse_decarbonizationThe 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.

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