Air Pollutants From Biomass Burning Exceeds Coal

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Air Pollutants From Biomass Burning Exceeds Coal

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:01 pm

Air Pollutants From Biomass Burning Exceeds Coal

By Andrew Childers Apr 3, 2014 3:02 PM ET

Bloomberg BNA — Facilities burning biomass emit more air pollutants, including carbon dioxide, per megawatt-hour than those that burn coal, according to a Partnership for Policy Integrity report.

The April 2 report, “Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal,” examined 88 Clean Air Act permits issued to industrial sources that burn biomass. It found that sources burning biomass emit 50 percent more carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity generated than coal-burning sources.

Additionally, the report said that even the cleanest-operating biomass facilities emit 150 percent more nitrogen oxides, 600 percent more volatile organic compounds, 190 percent more particulate matter and 125 percent more carbon monoxide than coal on a per megawatt-hour basis.

The report calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to set more stringent air pollution standards for burning biomass to generate electricity.

“Compounding the problem, bioenergy facilities take advantage of gaping loopholes in the Clean Air Act and lax regulation by the EPA and state permitting agencies, which allow them to emit even more pollution,” the report said. “Electricity generation that worsens air pollution and climate change is not what the public expects for its scarce renewable energy dollars.” Half of the 88 facilities analyzed had avoided prevention of significant deterioration entirely by obtaining synthetic minor permits. Those permits establish emissions restrictions to keep sources below the level that would require more extensive pollution controls.

Carbon Neutrality Defended

The report questions the forestry industry's assertion that burning biomass is effectively carbon-neutral because those emissions would be released eventually once the plant matter decomposed. The report argued that decaying plant matter would release its emissions much more slowly than burning biomass.

However, the forestry industry defended biomass as a carbon-neutral fuel source.

“The carbon neutrality of sustainably managed forest biomass is a scientifically supported fact,” Jessica McFaul, a spokeswoman for the American Forest & Paper Association, told Bloomberg BNA in an April 2 e-mail. “U.S. forests absorb more carbon from the air through growth than they release through harvest. Our members' use of biomass manufacturing residuals for energy has enormous greenhouse gas reduction benefits—equivalent to removing 40 million cars from the road. Furthermore, use of other biomass-based fuels reduces our reliance on non-renewable fuels and lessens the burden on landfills.”

The EPA has begun to permit greenhouse gas emissions from sources burning biomass after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2013 vacated a rule that had temporarily exempted them from the permitting requirements.

For more about Bloomberg BNA, click here.

Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.

source
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ ... 3892836293
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AIR POLLUTION:
Report slams biomass sector, dubbing it 'the new coal'

Daniel Lippman, E&E reporter
Greenwire: Wednesday, April 2, 2014

While the biomass energy sector has been labeled as green renewable energy, a report released today says burning scrap lumber and wood debris and agricultural waste products to create electricity is producing lots of air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.

"These facilities are sort of notorious for spouting out a lot of smoke on startup or shutdown," said Mary Booth, director of the group Partnership for Policy Integrity and author of the report, "Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal." "It's just an inherently polluting technology anyway, and even with sophisticated emission controls, it's still quite polluting."

Booth said her reviews of air permits revealed a pattern: "I was seeing facilities that were escaping regulation."

The biomass industry pushed back strong on the report, calling the science in it neither "factual nor new."

"Biomass is a clean, renewable energy source that our nation relies upon to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels," said Bob Cleaves, president of the Biomass Power Association, in a statement.

"Our industry uses residuals from forest maintenance as well as wood already used for other purposes like construction. These materials have no other use; they would otherwise decompose either in landfills, emitting the harmful methane gas, or on a forest floor where they would provide kindling to wildfires."

The report highlights one comparison that shows a biomass power plant had higher allowable emission rates than a coal or gas plant in carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, filtered particulate matter 10 (PM 10) and volatile organic compounds. Only the coal plant had higher sulfur dioxide emissions.

Booth said that a "loophole" allows biomass plants to emit much more pollution than other energy sources like coal.

The Clean Air Act requires coal plants to go through Prevention of Significant Deterioration permitting if the plant is going to emit 100 tons of each of the major pollutants per year. But Booth said biomass plants have been able to emit 250 tons per year before the same type of permitting applies.

"I think [U.S. EPA] is under tremendous political pressure and ... it's been a really disproportionately powerful industry," she said. "They have a lot of powerful friends in Congress, southern Democrats who are from timber states, and this is what the wood industry says they want. And they're going to give it to them."

The 2009 federal stimulus package funded several measures that have helped the industry, including the Investment Tax Credit and the Production Tax Credit.

There have been some signs that regulations for biomass energy may be tightened. Last July, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said EPA had failed to justify a 2011 decision that gave biomass facilities a three-year exemption from greenhouse gas rules (Greenwire, July, 12, 2013).

One reason biomass energy has been growing is that it's seen by some as less carbon-intensive than fossil fuels, which is partly why 700 megawatts of biomass energy were added to the grid last year.

Some scientists have backed up that position. In a 2010 open letter to senators, dozens of forestry professors wrote that "burning fossil fuels that are mined from millennia-old deposits of carbon produces an addition to carbon in the atmosphere, whereas burning woody biomass recycles renewable plant growth in a sustainable carbon equilibrium producing carbon neutral energy."

But today's report disputes that perception, saying "biomass power plants emit more CO2 than fossil fueled plants because wood and other types of biomass are carbon-rich, but not particularly energy-rich, particularly relative to natural gas."

"This means that burning biomass releases more CO2 per unit energy inherent in the fuel. ... Just as important, however, is that biomass power plants are much less efficient than gas and coal-fueled plants, in part because biomass fuels tend to have relatively high moisture content, and it takes significant energy to boil off excess water before useful energy can be generated."

source
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ ... 3892835741
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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Re: Air Pollutants From Biomass Burning Exceeds Coal

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:40 pm

How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal

"The biomass power industry is undergoing a new surge of growth in the United States. While bioenergy has traditionally been used by certain sectors such as the paper-making industry, more than 70 new wood-burning plants have been built or are underway since 2005, and another 75 proposed and in various stages of development, fueled by renewable energy subsidies and federal tax credits. In most states, biomass power is subsidized along with solar and wind as green, renewable energy, and biomass plant developers routinely tell host communities that biomass power is “clean energy.”

But this first-ever detailed analysis of the bioenergy industry reveals that the rebooted industry is still a major polluter. Comparison of permits from modern coal, biomass, and gas plants shows that a even the “cleanest” biomass plants can emit > 150% the nitrogen oxides, > 600 % the volatile organic compounds, > 190% the particulate matter, and > 125% the carbon monoxide of a coal plant per megawatt-hour, although coal produces more sulfur dioxide (SO2). Emissions from a biomass plant exceed those from a natural gas plant by more than 800% for every major pollutant.

Biomass power plants are also a danger to the climate, emitting nearly 50 percent more CO2 per megawatt generated than the next biggest carbon polluter, coal. Emissions of CO2 from biomass burning can theoretically be offset over time, but such offsets typically take decades to fully compensate for the CO2 rapidly injected into the atmosphere during plant operation."

Read the report: Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal (PDF), Mary S. Booth, Partnership for Policy Integrity, April 2, 2014. Via biofuelwatch.

source
http://www.notechmagazine.com/2014/04/h ... -coal.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6021
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA


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