Lignetics: Manufacturer of Premium Wood Pellets, Pres-to-Logs® Fire Logs, and Fire Starters

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From Biomass Magazine

By Sue Retka Schill

Wood pellet boilers should be considered at all hot-water heated federal facilities where natural gas is unavailable, particularly in northern regions, according to the U.S. General Services Administration. 


The GSA’s Green Proving Ground just released a study of the retrofit done at the Ketchikan Federal Building in Ketchikan, Alaska, that installed a state-of-the-art pellet-fired biomass boiler.
GPG commissioned researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to evaluate the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and operational functionality of the 1-million Btu boiler. NREL gauged the technology’s deployment potential by combining information from GSA’s Energy Usage and Analysis System with independent research to locate wood-pellet biomass sources, estimate delivered costs, and identify additional candidate facilities. After one full year of boiler operation, researchers performed a measurement and verification assessment over the course of one day in January 2012 to ascertain biomass boiler operational efficiency.
Because weather conditions were mild on that day and the boiler is oversized, it was operating at only 45 percent of load, but still maintained 85 percent efficiency, the report said. Payback for Ketchikan, in which the retrofit included the replacement of the entire legacy heating system, is estimated at 30 years. In part, that is due to the oversizing of the boiler, the report said. “Over the course of a year, the boiler installed at Ketchikan is capable of generating 8,760 million Btu but estimated use in 2011 was 1,150 million Btu, or 13 percent of full capacity. Under more favorable conditions, including but not limited to appropriate system sizing, simple payback can be less than five years.” A table in the report reported the payback periods for various pellet prices and differently sized systems. Paybacks are less than three years at prices between $200 and $250 per ton for systems ranging from 1 million Btu per hour to 4 million Btu per hour.
The report listed several benefits of pellet boilers, summarizing them as having high operational functionality and low operating and maintenance costs. Of the more than 1,500 GSA-owned buildings across the U.S., researchers identified approximately 150 as potential candidates for biomass heating. “Wood-pellet- fired biomass boilers should be considered at all hot-water-heated facilities where natural gas is unavailable. Deployment should target facilities that have an extended heating season and where pellet fuel is available within 50 miles.”

The full report can be found on the GSA website here

From Biomass Magazine

By Erin Voegele


On July 24, the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change reported that scientific analysis has proven that biomass from North America can help decarbonize U.K. electricity supplies. The analysis is the result of a scientific calculator that investigates the impact on carbon emissions of biomass sourced from North America to produce electricity. That calculator finds that responsibly sourced biomass can be used in a low carbon and sustainable way.

“In the short term, biomass can help us decarbonize our electricity supplies, and we are committed to supporting cost-effective, sustainably produced biomass,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey. “This calculator shows that, done well, biomass can offer real carbon savings – which is why we are tightening our rules for sustainable biomass. Any producer who doesn’t meet those standards will lose financial support from next year.”

The calculator, also known as the Bioenergy Emissions and Counterfactual Model, was developed by the DECC and can be used by developers to ensure biomass is sourced responsibly. According to the DECC, the model takes into account changes in the amount of carbon stored in forests over the lifetime of a biomass project.

“The calculator looks at the changes in the amount of carbon stored in forests in North America when assessing the benefits and impacts of various bioenergy scenarios,” said David MacKay, chief scientific advisor at the DECC. It gives new information about which biomass resources are likely to have higher or lower carbon intensities, and so provides insight into a complex topic.”

A technical report on the calculator, titled “Life Cycle Impacts of Biomass Electricity in 2020,” investigates a wide range of scenarios on the North American pellet industry, including current scenarios and potential future scenarios that could come to pass in a world with increased demand for biomass, such as pellets from wood derived from new, dedicated plantations. The scenarios range from those that are likely to happen to those that are possible but implausible.

The authors of the report conclude that in 2020 it may be possible to meet the U.K.’s demand for solid biomass for electricity using biomass feedstocks from North America that result in electricity with greenhouse gas (GHG) intensities lower than 200 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per MWh (kg CO2e/MWh) when fully accounting for changes in land carbon stock changes. The report, however, also notes that some other bioenergy scenarios could lead to high GHG intensities, meaning those greater than electricity from coal when analyzed over 40 or 100 years, but would be found to have GHG intensities less than 200 kg CO2e/MWh by the Renewable Energy Directive LCA methodology.

The report also concludes that the energy input requirement of biomass electricity generated from North American wood by the U.K. in 2020 is likely to range from 0.13 to 0.96 MWh energy carrier input per MWh delivered energy. The report specifies this is significantly greater than other electricity generating technologies. According to the report, the energy input requirement is the smallest when transport distances are minimized, the moisture content of biomass is reduced by passive drying and drying using local biomass as fuel, and when the energetic efficiency of the technology is maximized.

The U.S. Industrial Pellet Association has spoken out to welcome the release of the calculator, noting it can play an important role in demonstrating that biomass from the U.S. produced from sawmill residues, thinnings and other low-value fiber can significantly reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions that will remain a valuable energy resource in mitigating climate change. The USIPA, however, also stressed that the calculator does not consider some of the factors that promote sustainable forest management in the U.S.

“We are pleased to see the U.K. take the initiative to create a tool that will verify that responsibly sourced biomass is sustainable and carbon beneficial. This calculator, along with the U.K.’s strong sustainability requirements for biomass, can help policy makers with understanding the industry, and assist producers with ensuring their product is sustainable,” said USIPA Executive Director Seth Ginther.

However, it should be noted that the calculator does not consider the economic, regulatory, and social conditions that also promote sustainable forest management in the U.S.,” Ginther continued. “The U.K. government should use the BEaC calculator in conjunction with these aspects of the industry to determine the full carbon benefits that the biomass life-cycle can bring. We look forward to working with the U.K. to continue to deliver this affordable, low-carbon energy source that is keeping the lights on while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Drax Goup plc has also weighed in on the DECC’s announcement, noting the North American focus area of the study was identified several years ago by Drax as one of its source areas due to the abundance of biomass that met the company’s own robust sustainability criteria.

“Sustainability has always been absolutely central to our biomass strategy. The academic study by DECC confirms what Drax has always argued, that there is a right way to source biomass and a wrong way. We welcome that it confirms the fact that where biomass is sourced sustainably major carbon savings can be delivered,” said Dorothy Thompson, chief executive of Drax.

“This study adds to the growing breadth of analysis on sustainable sourcing of biomass as a fuel for low carbon electricity generation. We look forward to working closely with U.K. Government and other EU stakeholders to improve further the knowledge and analysis in this complex area,” she continued.

“When we complete our plans to convert three of our generating units to burn sustainable biomass in place of coal we will be able to deliver cost effective, renewable electricity to the equivalent of over three million homes and reduce our carbon emissions by over 10 million tons a year,” Thompson said. “No other renewable can make such an impact and provide electricity at scale day-in, day-out whatever the weather.”

Copies of the technical report, BEAC model, and a user guide for the model can be downloaded from the DECC website here.

Read the original here.

From Cleantechnica

By Roy L. Hayes


The most recent Ferc report states that the Natural gas sector continues to lead the US, in terms of installation capacity, for 2014. As of the end of June, there were 18 new facilities with a total capacity of 1,555 MW. While this is more than the 1,131 MW for solar, the report is restricted to utility scale solar. Based on previous returns, the addition of data from rooftop and commercial solar installations might change this. Is Solar the Leading US Energy, in terms of installations?

According to data from the Solar Industries Association (SEIA), more than 44% of solar capacity installed during the first quarter was non-utility. If that proportion continued to the end of June, solar is leading the nation in terms of installations.

An Energy information Administration (EIA) report predicts that 60% of the solar installations during the next 26 years will be in the rooftop sector.

“Solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy today – and, as this report bears out, it will continue to be for years and years to come. The continued, rapid deployment of solar nationwide will create thousands of new American jobs, pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and help to significantly reduce pollution,” Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Industries Association (SEIA) said in a recent press release.

He added, “This progress could be jeopardized if smart public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), net energy metering (NEM) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS), come under renewed attack by entrenched fossil fuel interests.”

Regardless of whether natural gas or solar leads, most installations were made in the renewable sector. Another 1,965 MW of renewable capacity was added YTD, not counting rooftop or commercial solar.

According to Ken Bossong of the Sun Day Campaign, “Renewables have accounted for approximately 45% of all new electrical generating capacity over the past 3 1/2 years.”

The wind industry continues to slump as a result of Congress’ not having renewed the Federal Tax credit. Professor Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley described compared it to a switch, which can turn this sector on or off. Only 699 MW of capacity has been installed YTD. By way of comparison, 12,000 MW were installed when the tax credit was active in 2012.

Other renewable installations were, by capacity: 87 MW of Biomass, 32 MW of Geothermal and 16MW of Hydopower.

The only new installations from more conventional sectors have been two oil plants with a total capacity of 9 MW.

There has been no growth in the number of new nuclear or coal facilities.

Read the original here.

From Biomass Magazine

By Anna SImet


While U.S. recycling rates are trending upward and the amount of waste generated per capita is decreasing , an enormous amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) continues to enter landfills, remaining underutilized for energy generation and greenhouse gas reductions.

A new report authored by Columbia University researchers examines recycling rates and waste generation by state between the years 2008 and 2011, and finds that if all MSW landfilled in 2011 was diverted to waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, it would supply enough electricity to power 13.8 million homes. If the steam turbine exhaust of the WTE plants were to be used for district heating, as is done in Denmark and some other northern European countries, the waste steam could provide district heating for 9.8 million homes.

Although that scenario isn’t necessarily achievable, as it isn’t economical to covert MSW in all places to energy, potential to increase energy drawn from U.S. waste is great, the study finds.

For plastic alone—which make up 11 percent of the total waste stream—even though recycling rates increased by 21 percent between 2008 and 2011, and waste-to-energy plants took in 3.9 million tons or 9.9 percent, over 80 percent was still mixed in MSW disposed in landfills. Illustrating how meaningful the conversion of MSW to energy is, the report points out that every ton of MSW combusted in modern WTE plants replaces nearly half of a ton of coal. Therefore, diversion of MSW from landfills to new WTE plants could reduce coal mining in the U.S. by about 100 million tons per year, or 10 percent of U.S. 2012 coal production.

Furthermore, this scenario could replace all coal imported by states such as New York, California, Idaho, New Jersey and Maine, and drastically reduce annual landfilling in the U.S., which is estimated to require about 6,100 acres of land each year, or the equivalent of nearly 4,600 U.S. football fields.

The report also determines quantities of waste generated in the U.S. by state and how it is disposed of, highlighting that Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire, are closest to attaining sustainable waste management, by combining  a high rate of recycling with a high WTE capacity to reduce landfilling.

Read the original here.