Burning desire: with high energy costs as a backdrop, entrepreneurs eye biomass as a market worth moving forward.Whether the practice of burning or distilling garbage, debris or tree trimmings and harnessing the energy can be considered recycling or simply an alternative disposal option is often debated.
Advocates of the practice may not be able to convince anyone that waste-to-energy or biomass efforts are a form of recycling, but, considering current energy markets, they might get a better hearing on biomass's resource conservation merits.
A kilowatt hour Kil´o`watt` hour
1. (Elec.) A unit of work or energy equal to that done by one kilowatt acting for one hour; - approximately equal to 1.34 horse-power hour.
Noun 1. of energy derived from solid waste or green waste can certainly preserve a certain amount of coal, fuel oil or natural gas. Determining to what extent the practice be done affordably and cleanly seems to be the next frontier.
GLOBAL CONCERN. Chopping down forests to provide heat, energy and shelter was a critical part of the evolution of the economies of Europe and North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. . Not until after forests were cleared did concentrated efforts to mine coal and drill for petroleum begin to occur.
For the most part, the nations of Europe and North America have urged leaders in other parts of the world to avoid the temptation to similarly de-forest their lands for the purpose of development. But with coat being difficult to transport and oil trading at $50 per barrel, this has at times been a tough sell.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO FAO,
n See Food and Agriculture Organization. ) has been attempting to offer a way for such nations to take advantage of their forest resources in a sustainable way.
In a statement released in mid-April, the FAO offered bio-energy derived from agriculture and forestry as "a key element in achieving two of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals “MDG” redirects here. For other uses, see MDG (disambiguation).
The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that 192 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015. : eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability."
Establishing such processes could offer an opportunity for advisors, equipment suppliers and plant operators who understand how to process what in North America might be termed "green waste," preparing it as an energy source.
By the FAO's definition, bio-energy is produced from biofuels (solid fuels, biogas bi·o·gas
A mixture of methane and carbon dioxide produced by bacterial degradation of organic matter and used as a fuel.
gaseous fuel produced by the fermentation of organic waste , liquid fuels such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel) and can come from a variety of sources, including crops like sugar cane and beet, corn and energy grass or from fuel wood, charcoal, agricultural wastes and by-products, forestry residues, livestock manure and other sources.
"Biomass is a locally available energy source that can provide for heat and power," an FAO statement declares. "It contributes to the substitution of imported fossil fuels, thus enhancing national energy security, reducing the import bill of petroleum products and alleviating poverty."
CLOSER TO HOME. North Americans, for the most part, are able to pay the going global rate for energy, but that does not mean biomass is being ignored on the home front.
Even the FAO, though focused on developing nations, has determined that, "Scenarios developed for the U.S.A. and the EU indicate that short-term targets of up to a 13 percent displacement of petroleum-based fuels with liquid bio-fuels (bio-ethanol and bio-diesel) appear feasible on available cropland crop·land
Land that is fit or used for growing crops. ."
In the developed nations, growing crops to produce biomass fuel is not the only option. Nations like the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. also produce a bounty of solid waste, a healthy percentage of which could be suitable for processing as biomass fuel.
In several parts of the country, green waste and even clean construction and demolition scrap wood is being used as boiler fuel.
Emissions remain a concern for many, especially when the biomass stream includes demolition debris and solid waste.
A system being championed by Taylor Recycling of Montgomery, N.Y., does not involve burning and, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. its advocates, can address the emissions concerns.
The company is a long-time recycler of construction and demolition debris, producing scrap metals, recycled aggregates, clean wood and recyclable gypsum gypsum (jĭp`səm), mineral composed of calcium sulfate (calcium, sulfur, and oxygen) with two molecules of water, CaSO4·2H2O. It is the most common sulfate mineral, occurring in many places in a variety of forms. .
Company Vice President of Business Development Tom Kacandes says that after recovering recyclables, another sorting process can separate out potentially hazardous items, leaving a set of dean materials appropriate for the innovative energy process it hopes to introduce throughout the country.
"Instead of burning it, the biomass gasification gas·i·fy
tr. & intr.v. gas·i·fied, gas·i·fy·ing, gas·i·fies
To convert into or become gas.
gas process that Taylor is going to be deploying literally pours hot sand over ground-up materials that are no bigger than a softball. The sand pours over that surface area, rapidly heats that biomass and converts it to a gas that is substitutable for natural gas," says Kacandes.
Taylor Recycling recently added two new staff members--Vice President of Engineering Ralph Corley and Certified Accountant Howard Cohen--to help staff the Taylor Biomass-Energy LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.
LLC - Logical Link Control subsidiary it has established to expand its biomass efforts.
Another firm looking to establish itself in the biomass markets is Green Energy Resources, Huntington, N.Y. Green Energy hopes to increase the number of "co-firing" plants in the United States. These plants burn wood along with coal, with the wood used to provide additional energy and to neutralize the amount of mercury released from the coal.
Green Energy claims to have more than one-half million tons of biomass inventory at the ready in North America, "accrued from a diverse number of national and local suppliers."
The company's product is being offered to North American buyers as Eco-Green coal, a boiler ready pre-mixture of wood biomass adhered to coal. The product "is already burned by companies in the United Kingdom. When co-fired in power plant boilers, it is proven to reduce greenhouse gases of carbon, nitrous oxide nitrous oxide or nitrogen (I) oxide, chemical compound, N2O, a colorless gas with a sweetish taste and odor. Its density is 1.977 grams per liter at STP. It is soluble in water, alcohol, ether, and other solvents. , sulfur and mercury, the major causes of global warming global warming, the gradual increase of the temperature of the earth's lower atmosphere as a result of the increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. ," the company claims.
At the University of Minnesota (body, education) University of Minnesota - The home of Gopher.
Address: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. , researchers are using dried corn stalks as their experimental biomass fuel for a gasification process that partially combusts the material, but does not cause it to fully burn--cutting down on emissions.
The researchers hope to see if the process offers a feasible substitute to paying for natural gas with its volatile pricing.
KEEPING IT CLEAN. While finding alternative energy sources appeals to most people, proving that biomass plants can operate cleanly may ultimately be the harder sell.
In Bangor, Maine For other places with the same name, see Bangor.
Bangor is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot County, MaineGR6, United States. It is the major commercial center for eastern and northern Maine. For U.S. , a new boiler plant started by Georgia Pacific has generated "mixed reviews," according to a local media report. A public hearing on the biomass boiler drew generally favorable comments from city officials, but some residents felt pollution would be an inevitable byproduct by·prod·uct or by-prod·uct
1. Something produced in the making of something else.
2. A secondary result; a side effect.
Noun 1. of the plant.
An Alton, Maine, resident who has opposed the plant is fearful not only of impure im·pure
adj. im·pur·er, im·pur·est
1. Not pure or clean; contaminated.
2. Not purified by religious rite; unclean.
3. Immoral or sinful: impure thoughts. emissions caused by the burning of wood purchased from construction and demolition (C&D) materials recyclers, but also sought to ensure that the resulting ash was handled and disposed of properly.
As with many forms of recycling, the market will play the starring role in determining whether such ventures are worthwhile. If the money can be spent to adhere to regulations and there is still a profit margin for those in the supply chain, then biomass may indeed gain a larger share of the nation's energy market.
The author is editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted at email@example.com.