“EU’s Renewable Goals Driving Wood Pellet Growth” – Renewable Energy World
by Robert Crowe, Renewable Energy World, March 25, 2011
“Coal prices could make biomass more competitive in 2011.”
“North America’s wood pellet producers doubled exports to Europe between 2008 and 2010 as biomass played a larger role in meeting renewable energy goals. This year will likely see even more growth as utilities increasingly look at wood pellet alternatives as coal prices are expected to increase even more following the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear crisis. The EU’s wood pellet demand increased 7% in 2010 to about 11 million tons. Europe imported about $250 million worth of pellets from the U.S., Australia and Vietnam in 2009. The North American Wood Fiber Review reported that the United States and Canada shipped a combined 1.6 million tons of pellets to the European Union in 2010. Exports are expected to increase this year as many countries look to biomass power since the EU mandated 20% of energy consumption must come from renewable resources by 2020. Read More
“The Coal Boom – Burning Ambitions” – The Economist
Editorial from Print Edition – Jan. 27, 2011
“In rich countries, where people worry about air quality and debate ways of pricing carbon emissions, coal is deeply unfashionable. Elsewhere demand for the dirty rocks has never been stronger. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons world consumption will increase by a fifth over the next 25 years, assuming government stick to their current climate-change policies. A new age of coal is upon us.
The IEA estimated that China, which generates more than 70% of its electricity with coal, will build 600 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power capacity in the next quarter-century – as much as is currently generated with coal in America, Japan and the European Union put together. Nomura, a Japanese bank, thinks that may be an underestimate. It reckons China will add some 500GW of coal-fired power by as early as 2015, and will more than double its current generating capacity by 2020. It expects Indian coal-fired power generation to grow too – though more slowly.” Read More
“Power-Station Coal May Reach $150 a Ton on Bad Weather, Credit Suisse Says” – Bloomberg
by Dinakar Sethuraman, Bloomberg, Jan. 12, 2011
“Power-station coal may rise to $150 a metric ton in the “coming weeks,” driven by extreme weather conditions, before declining in the year, according to Credit Suisse Group AG.
“The unexpected cold weather so far this season has taken a toll on global energy inventories and reset energy prices to varying degrees,” Joachim Azria, a New York-based analyst with Credit Suisse, wrote in a report dated Jan. 10. “We expect coal prices to move above $150 in coming weeks and possibly higher if there are further significant disruptions to supply.” Read More
“WPL Allowed to Expand Biomass Cofiring Tests” – Biomass Magazine
by Lisa Gibson, Biomass Magazine, Jan. 5, 2011
“Wisconsin Power and Light Co. in Madison was recently granted a Research and Testing Exemption from the state Department of Natural Resources, allowing expansion of its biomass cofiring test burns at the Nelson Dewey Generating Station in Cassville.
WPL conducted its first tests between November 2009 and November 2010 cofiring up to 20% wood chips, agricultural pellets and native grasses, according to Steve Schultz, spokesperson for WPL parent company Alliant Energy. “We decided we want to try to burn more,” he said.” Read More
“ISU Ponders Permanent Biomass Cofiring After Test Burn” – Biomass Magazine
by Lisa Gibson, Biomass Magazine, Jan. 4, 2011
“Armed with newly-compiled results from a four-month biomass test burn, Iowa State University representatives will discuss the parameters and requirements of permanent biomass utilization with the State Department of Natural Resources.
Together with NextGen Biofuels, Inc., the university cofired biomass in its coal-fired combined-heat-and-power plant over the summer. Working with both wood pellets and wood chips, the test burns started at 5% biomass and jumped up to 10% and 15%, according to Rob Ravlin NextGen president. Pellets were also tested at a 20% blend. “[The tests were] very successful,” he said. “If the will is there, we can immediately displace a large percentage of coal in existing boilers without any capital investment required.” Read More
“E.P.A. Says it will Press On with Greenhouse Gas Regulation” – NY Times
by Matthew L. Wald, NY Times, Dec. 23, 2010
“The Environmental Protection Agency announced a timetable on Thursday for issuing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries, signaling a resolve to press ahead on such regulation even as it faces stiffening opposition in Congress.
The agency said it would propose performance standards for new and refurbished power plants next July, with final rules to be issued in May 2012.” Read More
“Bioenergy expert: torrefaction may be biggest biomass market” – Biomass Magazine
by Anna Austin, Biomass Magazine, Dec. 22, 2010
“University of Minnesota Professor Doug Tiffany has been researching biofuels and biomass electricity for the last 15 years, and believes that blending torrefied biomass with coal represents the biggest potential market for biomass in the U.S.
A production economist in U of M’s extension service, Tiffany has immersed himself in renewable energy process economics…Tiffany said that during the torrefactin process, about 30% of the feedstock’s mass is driven off, and 10% of the Btus. However the Btus become much more concentrated. “They are 130% more per unit of mass at the end, so we drive off the parts that don’t burn,” he said.
It’s also much more compatible with coal and could serve as a cleaner cofiring agent. “That’s what I think is very attractive about torrefied biomass; it allows for a gradual greening up of the electricity produced by blending it in over time.” Read More
“RWE npower Considers Biomass Conversion” – Biomass Magazine
by Lisa Gibson, Biomass Magazine, Dec. 21, 2010
“U.K.-based RWE npower is exploring the conversion of its 1,100-megawatt (MW) coal-fired Tilbury, England, Power Station to 100% biomass, sourcing the majority of its feedstock from the pellet plant its parent company is developing in the U.S.
The Tilbury station currently cofires 10% biomass as per U.K. Renewables Obligation regulations and has for a number of years.” Read More
“RWE Innogy Starts Building Biggest Biomass CHP Plant in UK” – RWE.com
Press Release, RWE.com, Dec. 2, 2010
“RWE npower renewables, the UK subsidiary of RWE Innogy, has started to build its biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Markinch, Fife (Scotland). The new plant is the biggest of its kind in the UK…
The new biomass plant will run on wood residues and green wood from sustainable forestry, allowing carbon reductions of approx. 250,000 metric tonnes per year compared with the current solution. As this biomass project is of immense economic significance and is very much in line with climate policy goals, it will receive approx. nine million euros of sponsorship money from the Scottish government.” Read More
“Emissions from cofiring coal, biomass and sewage sludge” – IEA Clean Coal Centre
International Energy Association Clean Coal Centre “Profiles” Summary Report, Dec. 2010
“The cofiring of biomass with coal is becoming popular as biomass is considered carbon-neutral. However, biomass cofiring can also be used as cost-effective method of emissions reduction for pollutants other than just CO2…The increased efficiency of combustion of coal-fired systems allows the potential energy from biomass and waste to be harnessed whilst achieving lower emissions than would be seen when combusting these materials alone. Indeed, in the majority of cases, the co-combustion of biomass or waste with coal results in emissions of particulates SO2 and NOx at similar or lower levels than those encountered when firing these fuels separately.” Read more.
Based on a detailed study undertaken by the IEA Clean Coal Centre. The full report “Emissions from cofiring coal, biomass and sewage sludge” by Lesley Sloss CCC/175 ISBN 978-92-9029495-5 46pp, October 2010 is available separately.
“Topell Energy and RWE Innogy Build Plant for the Production of Biocoal Pellets” – Power-Gen Worldwide
Press Release, Power-Gen Worldwide, June 28, 2010
“Topell Energy and RWE Innogy have laid the foundation stone at Duiven in the Dutch province of Gelderland for the first commercial-scale plant for the production of biocoal pellets.
The plant with a production capacity of 60,000 tonnes per year will be realized by Topell Nederland, a joint venture of RWE Innogy (49.9%) and Topell Energy (50.1%). It is due to be commissioned early in 2011. The investment in the plant will total some EUR15m ($18.5m).
These pellets can be used in both dedicated biomass power plants and coal-fired power plants of RWE in Europe. Compared with a conventional German hard coal-fired power plant, their use can save about 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year.” Read More
“RWE Builds US Biomass Unit to Fuel European Plant” – Reuters
Reporting by Vera Eckert, Tom Kaeckenhoff and Peter Dinkloh, Writing by Peter Dinkloh, editing by Will Waterman, Reuters, Jan. 20, 2010
“Germany’s RWE (RWEG.DE), Europe’s fifth-largest utility and top carbon emitter, is planning to cut its emissions in the EU by building a biomass facility in the U.S. to produce wood pellets for burning in a Dutch power plant.
The German power company will build a plant in Georgia for 120 million euros ($170 million) that will produce 750,000 tonnes of the wood pellets a year, RWE management board member Leonhard Birnbaum said on Wednesday. The company will then ship the pellets to the Netherlands and fire them in the Amercentrale plant owned by its Dutch unit Essent, Birnbaum said.” Read More
“Scottish & Southern Energy in Power Play for Wood” – The Times Online
by Robin Pagnamenta: Energy Editor, The Times Online, Nov. 18, 2009
“Britain’s second-biggest energy company plans to buy a Scottish forest to help to feed its growing network of biomass-fired power stations, The Times has learnt.
Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), which supplies electricity and gas to nine million British homes, hopes to use the forest to supply fuel for two of its power stations – Fiddlers Ferry, in Cheshire, and Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire – where it has installed equipment allowing it to burn timber as well as coal.
The move reflects a scramble by British utilities to secure timber supplies to burn in biomass electricity plants, which are rewarded by lucrative subsidies.” Read More