A wood-fueled electricity generating plant may be in your future.
In fact, the future is now in some Scandinavian countries, said Dr. Darwin Foster, Texas Cooperative Extension forestry program leader. "In Sweden, theyre already bundling up what were leaving in the forest after a timber harvest and using it as bio-fuel," Foster said. "Bio-fuel" is all-inclusive term that includes any renewable resource used to generate energy. As with ethanol distilled from small grains byproducts and methane from animal-waste, wood refuse is another renewable energy source. The key word is "renewable," Foster said. "As compared to fossil fuels which take hundreds of millennia to create and are not renewable," he said.
Using forest bio-mass – limbs, bark, tree tops – as a bio-fuel is not unheard of in the United States. Forest product manufacturing concerns already burn wood residue in steam boilers. The steam is used to drive electrical generators and supply part of the energy needed to run the plant. Other mills use "black liquor" – the lignin-rich residue of the pulp and paper industry – for heat, steam and electric power generation.
The last subject – environmental sustainability – may be expanded to educate the public, Foster said. Some people might not understand the environmental benefits of burning forest residue to produce fuel.
But the economic benefits are two-fold, he said. First it is a truly renewable resource. Trees are efficient at turning sunlight, moisture and a few basic nutrients into bio-mass. Using forest residue as bio-fuel also will utilize a resource that is being left to rot in the field.
But another important issue is carbon sequestration. Trees "breathe" in carbon dioxide, one of the major greenhouse gases. The trees "breathe out" oxygen and sequester the carbon as part of the biomass.
"Carbon is the ‘C in CO2," Foster said.
True, burning the residue emits carbon dioxide, but as most of the harvested forest mass would be used for lumber, furniture and paper, there would still be a net sequestration of carbon.
Another common concern, Foster said, was that harvesting forest residues could cause nutrient deficiencies and retard future re-forestation efforts.
But studies have shown, residues can be harvested without loss of regrowth productivity as long as a few simple precautions are taken, he said. These precautions include not taking 100 percent of the residues, avoiding harvesting on sensitive sites, and not removing residues after every harvest. In some areas, returning most of the nutrients as ash to the harvest site might be possible, he said.
"The whole point of this program is to work to reduce our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels," Foster said.
Robert Burns | EurekAlert!
Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices
22.08.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
23.08.2017 | Automotive Engineering
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences