More Wood to be Burned for Energy in 2015

- by Erin Voegele, November 14, 2014, Biomass Magazine

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"310","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 300px; height: 233px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;"}}]]The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the November issue of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, which includes updated forecasts for the use of wood and biomass fuels in U.S. heat and power production.

The EIA predicts that wood biomass will be use generate 118,000 MWh electricity per day in 2015, up from 116,000 MWh per day in 2014 and 109,000 MWh per day in 2013. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 58,000 MWh of electricity per day next year, up from 54,000 MWh per day this year and 55,000 MWh per day last year.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.262 quadrillion Btu (quad) of wood biomass and 0.277 quad of waste biomass next year, up from 0.25 quad and 0.259 quad this year, respectively. The industrial sector is expected to consume 1.198 quad of wood in 2015, down from 1.25 quad this year. The industrial sector is also expected to consume 0.0169 quad of waste biomass next year, down from 0.172 quad this year. The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.091 quad of wood biomass and 0.046 quad of waste biomass next year, compared to 0.079 quad and 0.046 quad this year, respectively. The residential sector is expected to consume 0.571 quad of wood next year, down slightly from 0.580 quad this year. Across all sectors, the U.S. is expected to consume 2.123 quad of wood biomass next year, down from 2.164 quad this year. The U.S. is also expected to consume 0.492 quad of waste biomass next year, up from 0.478 quad this year.

Biomass Combustion: Harmful on any Scale

- by Cathy Baiton, Only Clean Air

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"208","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 350px; height: 289px; margin: 1px 10px; float: left;"}}]]In the same way that industrial biomass combustion can seriously jeopardize public health and the environment in communities, residential and smaller-scale commercial biomass burning also have adverse impacts on health and air quality in neighborhoods.

In many cities and towns, increased wood burning, both indoor and outdoor, has become a potentially year-round source of urban and semi-rural air pollution, whether from highly polluting outdoor wood boilers, needless “recreational” outdoor burning in warmer seasons, or avoidable fireplace or wood stove smoke in cooler months.

Residential smokestacks have even fewer pollution controls than industrial technologies, and people are exposed so directly in the confines of an urban neighborhood, where smoke particles can be trapped between trees, buildings, and other structures and can seep easily into nearby houses, even through closed windows and doors. Studies have found that as much as 70 percent of outdoor smoke pollution can enter surrounding homes, posing health risks to neighbors. Indoors, particle concentrations can build to levels that are dangerously high.