Can Co-Firing Biomass With Coal Help Meet International Climate Goals?

While he’s not personally present, President Trump is getting the cold shoulder at the climate meeting in Bonn, Germany because of his insistence on the wider use of coal-fired electricity. But one such idea that is getting floated there is the co-firing of biomass with coal to potentially increase efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions. […]

While he’s not personally present, President Trump is getting the cold shoulder at the climate meeting in Bonn, Germany because of his insistence on the wider use of coal-fired electricity. But one such idea that is getting floated there is the co-firing of biomass with coal to potentially increase efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions.

In this country, the federal government is now enacting policies to favor domestically-produced energy forms, namely by trying to peel back environmental regulations put in place by the previous administration to reduce CO2 levels and other pollutants. The European Union, by contrast, is favoring the use of wind and solar energy while dissuading the burning of coal to create electricity.

That said, biomass and waste account for two-thirds of all renewable energy consumption in the EU in 2012: wood chips, wheat grass and agricultural crop wastes — or any plant-derived organic matter — make up the biomass family. But that non-binding proclamation does say that the use of such bio-fuels need to reduce the level of greenhouse emissions.

And there’s where the experts are divided: Some say that if 5% of the coal that is burned today were replaced with wheat, grasses or forest residue, it would reduce CO2 releases by 16%. Others say it is carbon-neutral.

Meantime, the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences say that the net effect on greenhouse gas emissions is higher if more trees are cut down. Newly planted trees, furthermore, are unable to absorb that carbon at the same rate as older trees. That’s why environmentalists are warning that cutting down trees is a no-no and that using wood waste or scraps is a more plausible option.

Read more on this from Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2017/11/09/can-co-firing-biomass-with-coal-help-meet-international-climate-goals/#63b0fd5e8900.

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