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Biomass Energy. By: Molly Hay, Tanner Lagace, Katie Brown, &Erin Burke. What is the current US investment in Biomass Power?.

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Biomass Energy


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    1. Biomass Energy By: Molly Hay, Tanner Lagace, Katie Brown, &Erin Burke

    2. What is the current US investment in Biomass Power? • The US biomass market had a cumulative installed capacity of 9,686 MW in 2009. The cumulative biomass power installed capacity has increased from 8,835 MW in 2001 to 9,686 MW in 2009. The growth of the biomass industry in the US is stagnant in the last decade due to expiry of contracts signed under Public Utilities Policy Act by utility companies. The other Regulatory sons which affected the growth of the biomass industry are high feedstock costs because of the inadequate infrastructure facilities to transport waste and emergence of biomass industry in Europe and Asia-Pacific which came up with better framework supporting biopower industry compared to US.

    3. What are the latest scientific advancements on Biomass Power? A survey of 133 countries by the International Energy Agency shows that the biomass share of totally energy consumption is 10.5 percent. (2000) A large biomass power industry quickly develops in California. By 1985, the state has 850 megawatts of installed biomass power capacity. (1980’s)

    4. Biomass timeline • Here is a brief timeline of events that have shaped the growth of biomass energy from the 1800s to the present: • Date Event • 1812 A gas company in London, England, demonstrates the first commercial use of pyrolysis, heating biomass in an oxygen-free environment to produce a liquid oil. • 1840 First commercially used biomass gasifier is built in France. • 1860s Wood is the primary fuel for heating and cooking in homes and businesses, and is used for steam in industry, trains and boats. • 1870s Gasifiers are used with engines for power generation. • 1876 The Otto Cycle, invented by German scientist Nicolaus August Otto, is the first combustion engine to use ethanol-blended gasoline. • 1880s Henry Ford uses ethanol to fuel one of his first automobiles, the quadricycle. • 1890s Coal begins to displace wood used in steam generation. • 1900 Vegetable oil is used as a diesel fuel when German inventor Rudolf Diesel demonstrates that a diesel engine can run on peanut oil.

    5. 1908 When designing his Model T car, Henry Ford expects ethanol to be the major fuel used by motorists. He builds an ethanol fermentation plant in Atchison, Kansas, to manufacture ethanol for motor fuels. • 1910s Although wood remains the fuel of choice in rural homes in North America, coal begins to replace the use of wood in city homes. • 1930s Kerosene and fuel oil begin to replace wood as primary energy source. • In the United States, ethanol is used to fuel cars well into the 1920s and 1930s. During the 1930s, for example, more than 2,000 service stations in the U.S. Midwest sell “gasohol” (ethanol made from corn). • 1940s After World War II, the ethanol fuel industry closes down in the United States, with the arrival of low-priced, abundant petroleum fuels. • 1950s Electricity and natural gas displace wood heat in most homes and commercial buildings. • 1970s Concerns about crude oil supplies and environmental quality lead to renewed interest in ethanol and other biomass energy sources. Governments begin to fund research into converting biomass into useful energy and fuels. • Companies such as Chevron, Texaco and Amoco Oil Company begin to market ethanol-blended fuels to U.S. consumers. • 1980s High energy prices create new interest in biomass energy in Canada. In Atlantic Canada, for example, large institutions and schools modify district heating systems to run on wood wastes. • Biomass power plants are built in North America. • A large biomass power industry quickly develops in California. By 1985, the state has 850 megawatts of installed biomass power capacity. • 1990s As public concerns about environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change grow, governments in Canada and elsewhere take a greater interest in using renewable energy, such as biomass, to decrease greenhouse gases and other emissions.

    6. 1990 In the United States, the Clean Air Act mandates the sale of oxygenated fuels (such as ethanol-blended gasolines) in areas of the country with higher levels of carbon monoxide. The Act helps to stimulate rapid growth in the use of ethanol fuels for transportation. Ethanol production grows from 175 million gallons (approximately 663 million litres) in 1980 to 2.8 billion gallons (approximately 10.6 billion litres) in 2003. • Increasing environmental concerns and changes in government policies spur production of biodiesel fuels in Europe and the United States. • According to the United Nations, biomass energy consumption is about 6.7 per cent of the world’s total energy consumption. • 1992 The Canadian government grants an excise tax exemption for ethanol used in blended fuels. • 2000 A survey of 133 countries by the International Energy Agency shows that the biomass share of total energy consumption is 10.5 per cent.

    7. United Kingdom • Import of raw materials for biomass production is constantly rising, and latest predictions say that timber imports are expected to rise to about 50 million tons by 2015 which is around 150% increase compared to current numbers.

    8. How and where is the US using Biomass to generate electricity? • Electricity generated from biomass is also called biopower. Biopower facilities use many different technologies; the most common is burning wood or other biomass feedock’d to produce steam which then is ised to drive turbines and produce electricity. • In the United States, the pulp and paper industries are major producers of biopower, using residues from poper production to produce electricity for industrial plant use.

    9. Most of the biopower plants in the world use a direct-fired system or a conventional steam boiler. Both systems burn bioenergyfeedstocks directly to produce steam which in turn creates electricity. Differences in the methods lie within the boiler or furnace structure. In a direct-fired system, biomass is loaded in from the bottom of the boiler and air is supplied at the base. In a conventional steam boiler, the draft is forced in through the top but the biomass is also bottom loaded. Traditional direct-fired systems are the pile system (which uses a two-chamber combustion chamber) or the stoker boiler. Hot combustion gases are passed through a heat exchanger in which water is boiled to create steam. This steam is usually captured by a turbine, causing the turbine blades to rotate. The rotation is attached to an electrical generator, which then creates electricity. • .

    10. Where the United States is using Biomass to generate electricity Across the United States. McNeil Generating Station, Burlington, Vermont, the country's only utility-owned and operated wood-fired power plant.

    11. Truck unloading wood chips that will fuel the Tracy Biomass Plant, Tracy, California.

    12. Biomass and biofuels resource potential in the conterminous United States.

    13. Biomass has played a relatively small role in terms of the overall U.S. energy picture, supplying 3.2 quadrillion Btu of energy out of a total of 98.5 quadrillion Btu in 2000. • The industrial cogeneration sector consumed almost 2.0 quadrillion Btu of biomass in 2000. Outside the pulp and paper industries, only a small amount of biomass is used to produce electricity. There are power plants that combust biomass exclusively to generate electricity and facilities that mix biomass with coal (biomass co-firing plants). The electricity generation sector (excluding cogenerators) consumed about 0.7 quadrillion Btu of biomass in 2000. The remaining 0.5 quadrillion Btu of biomass was consumed in the residential and commercial sectors in the form of wood consumption for heating buildings. To put these numbers in perspective, the electricity generation sector consumed 20.5 quadrillion Btu of coal and 6.5 quadrillion Btu of natural gas in 2000.

    14. UK? • UK, alone produces well over 10 million tons of bone-dry biomass each year. Of this total, five million tons is now burned to make electricity. The rest is either sold or used to benefit plants. If all of the 10 million tons of biomass in UK were used then they could make 2,000,000,000 watts of electricity.

    15. How much (%) electricity is currently being generated by Biomass power in the US? • Biomass provides about 3 to 4 percent of our energy in the U.S.; in 2000, 22.3 quadrillion BTUs were produced from wood, waste, and alcohol. The wood and paper products industries generate and use about two-thirds of this power. Solid wastes from cities fuel most of the remaining biopower plants, providing enough electricity to meet the needs of nearly 7 million Americans.

    16. UK? Twelve percent of the fuel that we can burn today is biomass so that means 12 percent of the electricity comes from biomass which is a renewable fuel," said Peter Emery, production director at Drax. Drax said burning biomass releases around 90 percent less carbon than burning coal and between 50 and 90 percent less than burning gas

    17. Why is Biomass power better than each of the other alternative energy sources at generating electricity? Biomass is a “carbon lean” fuel producing a fraction of the carbon emissions of fossil fuels. The use of biomass fuel provides an economic incentive to manage woodland which improves biodiversity. Biomass fuel is not only good for the environment but is also cheaper than having fossil fuels to create electricity.

    18. Why do you think the US should invest in Biomass Power? Investing in Biomass Power would help bring down the emission of CO2 into the air. There are still some disadvantages to Biomass Power, like deforestation. Also, by removing Biomass for energy, it allows for less CO2 to be removed through photosynthesis of plants. Because of the disadvantages, we do not advise a large investment in Biomass Power.