A carbon-based fuel cannot be "carbon-neutral"

News and discussion of carbon-free energy sources

Carbon Black from woodburning destroying the planet

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Sat May 23, 2009 9:53 am

I now recognize that woodlots can be managed and in Maine maybe they are all required to be managed and have no doubt that woodburning can be renewable, can be carbon nuetral, can be local, can save on oil being imported, especcially from arab sources. I recognize that poor people can harvest the wood by themselves sometimes and save money. I recognize that there are economic multipliers that can benefit Maine. I also recognize that many people are trying to do good in many different ways by burning wood.

But, if a pellet stove puts out 40 times more pm than burning oil and it is one of the best pieces of equipment, then burning wood makes no sense from a global warming perspective. Also, most country properties with 30 acres that I have seen have a house on a road and neighbors close by. I have not personally experienced a pellet stove but have been told that even this cleaner equipment can put out a smelly toxic plume of 180 air toxics and few people talk of that. Dioxin is very bad and it is said to be increased by pellet stoves. Do I have to let the woodburners poisen themselves till they come down with cancer decades later? I understand that the cost of cancer is very great and often the economical back to the landers can't handle the cost when something like this happens. New Zealand studies say the ave cost per burner to society is about $3,000/yr/burner and the problem is that death is so expensive to society from decreased productivity to hospital bills and living out in the country does not decrease this cost. Isolated country folk still die and still contribute to society and are valued by God and man alike. I also think of the poem by Robert Frost about the Maine farmer with a large beautiful farm and house and barn heated by wood cut and chopped on site. Everything seemed good till the robust and healthy farmer accidently cut open his leg and died from bleeding before he could get help. It could just as easily be cancer, or leukemia or asthma, or a heart attack or cataracts or so on and on.

Even the Otten boiler puts out 4 times the pm and is therefor 4 times as bad for global warming. Put a precipitator on it and you still have 180 toxic gases. I like the idea of superinsulating houses till your house eventually becomes passive solar and gets close to being 100% solar. Yes, there is a cost. But there are Maine programs to solve the finance problem and cost problems for anyone. After the insulation is paid for, it is free money from energy savings for as long as you live and for as long as the house stands.
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Postby Wilberforce » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:15 pm

The biomass-is-carbon-neutral proposal put forward in the early 1990s has been superseded by more recent science that recognizes that mature, intact forests sequester carbon more effectively than cut-over areas. When a tree’s carbon is released into the atmosphere in a single pulse, it contributes to climate change much more than woodland timber rotting slowly over decades. Current studies indicate that "even after 50 years the forest has not recovered to its initial carbon storage" and "the optimal strategy is likely to be protection of the standing forest"
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Re: A carbon-based fuel cannot be "carbon-neutral"

Postby Wilberforce » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:36 pm

How Virginia’s Renewable Portfolio Standard Rewards Utilities for a Failing Performance
http://www.chesapeakeclimate.org/file-u ... rmance.pdf
page 12
Technologies that pollute by burning a fuel Biomass (Waste Wood): Though conventional wisdom in the past has been that burning waste wood was “carbon neutral,” scientists are now taking a second look. The common conception used to be that if waste wood were left in the forest, it would eventually decompose, releasing its carbon, so burning it would be carbon neutral in the long run. But it would normally decompose over the course of decades, not burn up in minutes. So the short-term carbon impact of burning wood for electricity can actually be higher than fossil fuels like coal. Since climate change is happening rapidly before our eyes, experts are starting to think that we may want to pull back the reigns on the construction of biomass facilities.
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