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Green future of bioenergy

Wed-16-2016 Green future of bioenergy

Bio-derived energy sources - wood, grass, manure and alcohol - have a rich history is not able to command the "buzz" of the solar wind, geothermal or even in public discussions on renewable energy sources.

Worse yet, for some, "bio" conjures up images of clear felling, dead zones in our waterways, emissions of "food versus fuel" or additional carbon - opposite of sustainable development.

In fact, bio-based energy has the greatest presence in the market, includes the majority of stakeholders, and currently has the greatest economic impact of any energy sector of renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy: the demand

If society expects effective climate change mitigation, attracting the widest possible band of renewable energy sources is needed. As a professor of energy and energy specialist at the University of Wisconsin, I came to the conclusion that including people whose economic interests are linked to the Earth's biological capacity - such as landowners, loggers and farmers - is a critical component of any climate strategy .

Biomass energy has been with mankind forever. It is abundant, renewable, and is able to produce energy on demand.

Globally, biomass overshadows all other renewable sources. According to the International Energy Agency, biomass (including waste), provided 10% of the fuel for power generation worldwide in 2012. In contrast, hydro and all other renewable energy sources account for 3.4% of world production. In the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the share of biomass fuel falls to 5.3%, while all other renewable sources increased to 4% in 2013. Biomass is used to create a connection to the network of electricity from wood and wood waste, as well as heat / steam in the industry, for space heating and the production of liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Bio-fuel is produced represented 2.068 trillion Btu (unit of energy) in the last year and came 2,214,000,000,000,000 BTU wood for the production of electricity and steam. By contrast, solar (427) + Wind (1734) + geothermal (222) produced a combined 2.383 trillion Btu in 2014!

However, technology advances alone are not enough to mitigate the continuation of anthropogenic climate change. Many people are needed too - people whose economic well-being, livelihoods and aspirations of independence is related to the transformation of energy from fossil fuels. The more people a direct benefit from this transition, so it is faster and more efficient.

Will the biomass without the so-called external factors - emissions, erosion, degradation of surface water and other direct / indirect collateral effects? Nope. Externalities will occur, as with all industrial operations.

Nevertheless, require a source of energy without any adverse side effects on this transition is incorrect, perhaps not so dramatically, pursuit. I believe that the greatest possible tent, with the largest number of people, and the largest economic footprint is tied to this transition is necessary. We can optimize the performance of our renewable energy sources as soon as we "bow maneuvering of the iceberg."

This discussion of the role of bioenergy comes at a critical moment. The December climate conference in Paris is obviously the most important gathering of our time. But before the US two monumental fork on the transition from fossil fuels: the recently announced plan Clean Power (CPP), which limits carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and often controversial Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a federal mandate for the production of liquid fuels from biomass.

If these policies are not changing the game to cement long-term role for biomass, including biofuels and wood burning in existing coal-fired power stations, then we no longer have a "broad tent" strategy, including a wide range of energy sources. And if the tent is compressed, which means less leverage in Paris. The lower trail of economic benefits of the transition energy, the less political forces to negotiate a global change.

the Environmental Protection Agency, the US is the epicenter of both policies. Good intentions, but naive supporters oppose certain types of wood fuel power, including a group of 78 scientists who expressed concerns about the role of biomass in terms of clean energy. These voices tend to severely limit biomass as a fueling option for electric generation under the CPP.

In contrast to this, on June 30 2015, 46 US senators signed a letter to EPA, approving the processing of forest biomass as a carbon neutral fuel and, therefore, eligible to be used as an acceptable fuel for public services to meet the rules of the carbon in the CPP. Even the Union of Concerned Scientists proposed a "qualified" approval authority on the basis of biomass.

It is a challenge to develop sustainable methods for biomass as a consensus on this issue is not easy to obtain, if possible. Severe restrictions, even if optimized in terms of carbon neutrality, the inertia agile, dispute and litigation.

The ten-year debate on the indirect land-use expenditure on grain-based biofuels is a prime example. In theory, an increase in demand for biomass may induce some land abuse, which can lead to deforestration and soil damage, but the cost of excluding biomass time and momentum - none of which climatologists, it seems that we have in abundance

Clean Power Plan should take widely recognized biomass possibilities. monitoring and enforcement systems must use the already established sustainable forest management and conservation of agricultural standards.

Renewable fuel standard, a cornerstone of the administration of George W. Bush's biofuel policy, require 21 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022 they were optimistic goals in 2007-09, when the policy was formulated. The slow development of technology platforms, high costs and historically low prices for fossil hydrocarbons have many questioned the wisdom of this mandate. This questioning is understandable, even for me - a veteran of renewable energy for 32 years. What is not clear is the likely effect of lowering our expectations for transport biofuels.

Sorghum studied as an alternative fuel for the production of corn. Department of Agriculture, CC BY

The essence of the RFS is to provide policy certainty to stakeholders in developing alternatives to fossil hydrocarbon products. No assurance policy means fewer funds, fewer stakeholders with regard to the transition energy, and the result: greater dependence on fossil fuels.

Bioenergy policy

Without a stable biofuel policy, the development of bio-chemicals, advanced bio-products and the improvement of transport fuels with lower carbon emissions and better energy density is in doubt. U-turn in policy means that significant public / private investment in these platforms and supply chains may be missed.

Is optimal RFS? Free from external factors? Absolutely not! However, RFS should be reiterated and supported, including allowance 15 billion gallons of ethanol from corn and possible expansion "Blend-wall" to go from 10% ethanol in gasoline is now up to 15% in your fuel area station.

Will the resolution of utilities for the use of biomass as part of their compliance allow some coal power plants in order to survive? Yes. Will some fuelwood come from whole trees instead of felling residues, some of which are whole trees come from clear-cutting operations? Yeah. Is the pursuit of "perfect" is dissipating the value of "good?" In my opinion, a loud and resounding NO!

The more important question is whether the transition can be from almost all based on fossil carbon economy achieved within the time needed to mitigate climate change? Climate change, which poses a threat to the existing and future generations can not be solved without the enthusiastic participation of loggers, farmers and industrialists. Mass movement is required, not laser-guided approach that promotes some renewable energy compared with the other.

I admit, there are concerns about the potential environmental problems from biomass industries. These issues should be monitored and policies adjusted in accordance with the warranty. However, my experience is that the people closest to the land, such as loggers and farmers tend to care most for her. We have to put trust and faith in these land stewards, compared with second guessing their intentions and willingness to contribute to the solution.

With the exception of biomass, even in cases which could lead to more intensive, short-term use of land is the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite yourself. It's picking the wrong battle at the wrong reasons.


Source: http://ukrfuel.com/news-green-future-of-bioenergy-63.html

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