The first National Clean Energy Week, a forum striving to encourage support of the United States’ energy sector through technological innovation and policy change, is taking place the week of September 25-29. According to the organization’s website:
Across America, clean and readily abundant forms of energy are powering more than homes and businesses. Taken together, our capacity for safe and reliable energy generation is driving a clean energy renaissance that is creating jobs, strengthening America’s national security, and preserving our environment.
Wind and solar energy have long been the power-houses of renewables. While the carbon neutrality of biomass (organic materials used for energy) has been debated, studies show significant carbon benefits can be achieved through the use of organic residue based biomass in power generation facilities. Additionally, the collection of forest waste for use is essential to responsible forest management. Unlike living trees that draw carbon from the atmosphere – dead tree leftovers release carbon into the atmosphere.
This past spring, the House Appropriations Committee voted to officially designate biomass as carbon neutral. The FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill directed U.S. government energy leaders to recognize the benefits of using forest biomass for energy creation and forest management.
The biomass power industry removes over 68.8 million tons of forest debris annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the risk of forest fires. In addition, the biomass industry diverts millions of tons of waste material from landfills and open burns. Biomass power plants also eliminate the need for frequent open burns of agricultural waste and forest slash, while continuing to offset the use fossil fuels that produce smog and acid rain.
Biomass power will be highlighted alongside energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind and hydropower during the National Clean Energy Week forum in Washington D.C. Click here if you’d like to learn more and get involved!
Source: Biomass Magazine
A recent study commissioned by the Biomass Power Association (an organization representing 80 biomass power plants across the U.S.) compared the carbon intensity of a forest residue biomass power facility in New Hampshire to that of a combined cycle natural gas facility.
Dr. Madhu Khanna (of the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural/Consumer Economics) and Dr. Puneet Dwivedi (of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources) found significant carbon benefits can be achieved through the use of organic residue based biomass instead of natural gas in power generation facilities.
The results showed immediate carbon savings of 115%, and 98% carbon savings over 100 years.
This “forest residue” is the leftover matter from harvesting wood fiber in a managed forest for paper mills and lumber mills. The leftovers include tops, limbs and other forestry byproducts are generated regardless of being used for power or just left to decay. If it’s not collected and used as biomass power, it will typically remain in the forest in slash piles – which are isolated piles burned safely in order to keep forests healthy. This kind of forest management is important, because unlike living trees that draw carbon from the atmosphere – dead tree leftovers release carbon into the atmosphere.
“The avoidance of carbon and methane emissions by removing from the forest and using materials that decay results in a significant GHG reduction over time. While the decay of these materials releases small amounts of methane consistently over time, the methane gas has a 21 times higher global warming impact on the climate than carbon dioxide. Even a small amount of avoided methane release can substantially increase the near term benefits of removing harvesting residues and using them for electricity generation instead of leaving them in the forest and continuing to burn natural gas for electricity.”
-Case Study: Carbon Intensity of Harvesting Residue-Based Electricity
The decay rate of forest biomass, the carbon/methane emissions that would have occurred if the organic leftovers stayed on the forest floor, and the incidental carbon emissions incurred during the harvesting/chipping/transportation process were all factors taken into account during the study.
Interested in learning more? Check out the full study, here.
As you probably know, wood pellets turn to sawdust when water is applied, because they absorb moisture immediately and return to the original state of clean wood fiber. Did you have some packaging damage that let in some snow or rain – and now you have leftover sawdust? Don’t throw it out, because you can put it to good use! Here are some of the ways wood pellets can come in handy – aside from heating.
Many experienced growers claim that using a sawdust mulch around blueberry plants helps them thrive. This is because these plants grow best in an acidic soil with a lot of moisture – which is what the sawdust provides. However, clean sawdust has apparently been harder to come by for small outfits and DIYers. This is where softwood pellets come into play!
Although we rolled out our improved online shopping cart a couple of years ago, we’re still getting surprised reactions from customers about it. Did you know that you can select multiple products to add to your purchase when ordering from Woodpellets.com, both by phone and online? If you’re speaking to one of our experts by phone, just ask him or her about adding another type of fuel to your order.
If you’re shopping online, simply select your desired brand and the number of tons you’d like from your zip code’s gallery. Once it’s added to your cart, select the Continue Shopping button that will appear on a pop-up box. This will bring you back to the gallery, where you can select another type of fuel. Continue this until you’re ready to view your cart, make any changes, select your delivery type and check out.
Why is this mix and match by the ton option important? Well, you might want to set up a
strategic burning strategy for the next heating season. If you have been burning hardwood pellets, you might be curious about upgrading to softwood. Or, you might want to try something new. Perhaps you already burn softwood pellets, but you’re thinking about burning a softwood with a higher heat output during those extra cold months. Comparing your burning and heating experience with different types of wood pellets will help take care of those pellet curiosities.
Did you know that softwood pellets can be used as horse bedding? Horse bedding is used in stalls to absorb urine and moisture, and is a necessary part of properly maintaining clean stalls. Wood shavings are commonly used, but softwood pellet bedding is becoming popular among experienced horse and stable owners. Earlier this month, Woodpellets.com was proud to donate Cleanfire Pacific wood pellets to the NY-based nonprofit, Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue.
Read: How to Prepare Softwood Pellets as Horse Bedding
Five years ago, Deanna Mancuso founded the LOHR in order to provide a sanctuary for unwanted, abused and neglected horses. But the mission of her team goes beyond rescue, rehabilitation and care – because the horses go on to help people. Lucky Orphans’ EAGALA certified team offers Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for those struggling with PTSD, anxiety, depression and other mental or emotional struggles. Deanna explained, “Donations like these wood pellets are really a donation to the community, because you’re helping the horses that are serving such a huge purpose in the community”.
If you purchased the pellet stove in your home, you probably did a lot of research by reading reviews, comparing prices, learning about available features, and so on. How much do you look into pellets before you make a purchase? It’s a good idea to check out the brand’s heat and ash specifications before you buy. The higher the ash percentage, the more leftover ash you’ll experience – which correlates to how frequent your cleanings will be. Higher quality pellets have lower ash percentages, which means less maintenance for you. As for the heat output, the higher the BTU/lb number, the hotter the burn of course.
The popularity of 100% douglas fir wood pellets has been spreading rapidly in recent years. What makes them so special? Well, so say the high heat out and low ash levels are impressive would be an understatement. These softwood pellets are made from 100% douglas fir wood fibers – which is one of the hottest burning wood species in North America. Check out this chart showing the relative heat output (as measured by BTU/lb) from various wood species.
In addition to their superior heating ability, wood pellets comprised of 100% douglas fir create 2-3 times less ash than your average premium grade pellets. Ash levels this low provide a huge advantage in how often you must clean your stove or fiddle with your burn pot.
The White House has just released the United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, a national U.S. strategy to decarbonize the economy over the next 34 years.
This report spans over 100 pages, and details the 2050 vision of economy-wide net greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80 percent or more below 2005 levels. The White House explains:
“The MCS demonstrates how the United States can meet the growing demands on its energy system and lands while achieving a low-emissions pathway, maintaining a thriving economy, and ensuring a just transition for Americans whose livelihoods are connected to fossil fuel production and use,”
Are you eligible for the $300 Biomass Federal Tax Credit? It’s a $300 dollar-for-dollar tax credit for purchasing a qualifying biomass-burning stove between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. To make sure yours meets the 75% efficiency rating requirement, just check with your retailer.
You’re able to claim this credit as long as the stove was installed in your principal residence. This is the home you live in most of the time. It must be in the United States, and it can include a house, houseboat, mobile home, cooperative apartment, condominium, and a manufactured home. New construction and rentals do not apply.