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    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    adwindrum, are you sure you can be so bold as to mention nuclear on this forum without needing to duck the onslaught of rotten veg heading your way??
  1.  
    Is it this Thursday that TV programme is scheduled
    "What the Green movement got wrong"
    or some similar title,
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010 edited
     
    Yep, will be worth watching since it will include people like Patrick Moore who has realised his error and been man enough to admit he was wrong and confused in the past. Other supporters include James Hansen, James Lovelock and Stephen Tindall.
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010 edited
     
    These tv debates usually disappoint however. The devil is always in the detail which is something not of sufficient interest for most people.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    Love that cartoon!:bigsmile::bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    Great isn't it. The work of Suzie Hobs @ Pop Atomic Org. Hope she does not mind me nicking it.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010 edited
     
    This was published two years ago Brian. What’s happened about it since then?

    http://www.bioregional.com/files/publications/BiomassforLondon_Dec08.pdf

    “A substantial increase in wood fuel boilers/CHP would have air quality implications in London. It is beyond the scope of this report to address this issue in any detail but it is recognised that more work is needed to ensure that climate change mitigation objectives are balanced with concerns about other emissions.”

    …………….

    “While an expansion of wood fuel energy would have clear benefits in terms of CO2
    reduction, planning authorities, developers and other stakeholders need to be mindful of other environmental issues. There is some concern that a substantial increase in biomass use would have implications for London’s air quality. It is beyond the scope of this report to address this issue in detail but it is recognised that any expansion in wood fuel use needs to minimise environmental impacts. This is reflected in the preference given by the London plan to energy efficient design and to CHP over heating only facilities.”

    …………….

    That bit concerns me for this reason, quite apart from the bit about minimising environmental impacts rather than working to eliminate them altogether:

    “Additional work may be required to determine the most appropriate use of different wood materials to strike a balance in meeting waste and renewable energy policy objectives, as well as meeting local air quality policy objectives.”

    That creepy bit about additional work MAY be required, relegating that additional work to one of secondary importance.

    And air quality concerns can’t have signified too much at the time this report was written because things were pushing ahead regardless of all the evidence pointing to the inadequacy of local air quality standards, which are (allegedly) too pragmatic to be effective anyway…

    “Where planning permission is not required, for example when an existing boiler is being replaced, the boiler will still need to meet local air quality standards. The Environmental Permitting Regulations are the regulatory regime that controls the emissions from industrial activities, including biomass combustion. Larger installations are covered by the EA, while local authorities are responsible for smaller ones. The only application that the EA was aware of for London was at the Tate and Lyle factory in Silvertown. This project will replace four 19MW gas turbines with 65MW of biomass CHP capacity. The plant will run 24 hours a day and is expected to require 135,000t/yr of biomass at 8-10% moisture content when in full operation in 2009. The planned fuel is not wood but wheat feed, a by-product of flour milling which will be imported from outside London.”



    In the light of what I’ve learnt, thanks to this thread, I found this piece of research utterly depressing. There is a tendency for some ‘academics’ to ignore the ramifications of their research, putting them on a par with military commanders factoring in collatoral damage as an inevitable result of planned action in pursuit of a closely-defined strategic goal. Unavoidable being somehow forgiveable. Bit like the garage mechanic who tells the customer that he couldn’t fix the brakes so he made the horn louder.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
  2.  
    joiner- The situation in London appears to have changed with greater responsibilty on local authorities to provide LAQM (local air quality management) I note Southall rejected biofuelled CHP because of air quality degradation fearsand this decision was supported by Gov inspector. Sadly the air quality of UK is not helped by the previous Gov decision to apply for special dispensation to ignore new EU directive on limits on PM 2.5 and NOx. Pressure is on to ensure 15% reduction in hazardous air pollution by 2020 but current burning proposals would appear to destroy any hope in compliance.
    The current regulations allow much higher levels of pollution in England than in Scotland. The compliance regs sadly appear full of holes allowing the unscrupulous to crawl through e.g. I note emissions volumes can vary between 4-30,000 cubic metres per MWh of output power but be ruled ok .
    It would appear the only way to avoid depression is to join the masses and controlling Authorites, stick our heads where the sun don't shine and pretend everything is ok. Let the next generation sort the mess we create or whatever!
    • CommentAuthoradwindrum
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    gcar -best friend is a nucleur engineer and we have had a debate or two about nucleur and I had to admit ignorance so read a book or two and am now a convert. Nucleur has necessarily been a fear weapon and this has been transferred to the power production, but there really is no need for it. Still I wouldnt dare admit to it on this forum :wink:
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    I am quite a fan of nuclear for base load and storage (i.e. pumped storage).
    Intermittent renewables like tidal, wind and solar suffer from similar supply/demand balancing issue (but without the waste/fuel security problems).
    The 'slack', in the short term can be filled with CCGT/Diesel/spinning coal fired reserve/storage.
    Very short term fluctuation is already countered by large users being paid to turn of some equipment such as freezer (Tesco) and smelting works (there is an aluminium smelters is Wales I think that does this).

    Not sure if this helps with the burning of wood though. :bigsmile:
  3.  
    I understand we import woodpellets from Ukraine , having lived in an area blighted by Chernobyl it brings the question can trees absorb radioactivity and if so what happens when the timber is burned.
    Could surplus power from wind during high wind periods be used to create hydrogen local to these major windfarms, hydrogen then used in powerplants to compensate for periods of low wind allowing transmission line capacity to be optimised and stabilising supply.
    Waste storage is major problem with nuclear, became very concerned at study recommending sites close to main UK-US air routes. Would be interesting to compare health impact data for nuclear versus woodburning.
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2010
     
    Waste storage for PWR reactors is NO problem anywhere in the world since we are talking about what amounts to a tiny tiny amount of material which is in an inert ceramic form (Its not going anywhere). After 4-5 years in the reactor core and 5 years in the cooling pond it is usually transfered to dry cask storage where it is secure for at least a century and takes up little more space than the directors parking lot on the plant site. A LWR uses about 25-30 tonnes of low enriched fuel per 18 months - compare that to a coal plant of similar power output needing around 100 train cars with 100 tonnes in each, day in a day out.
    Typically for PWRs 95% of spent fuel is just the same uranium that was mined in the first place, 4% are fission products, (1 tonne of these are produced per GW year) 1% plutonium of various isotopes (certainly far too impure to be used for nefarious purposes) and a few kg of other higher actinides (Americium,Curium & Neptunium etc). So around 96% of the potential energy is still there in that spent fuel that some ignorant folk consider to be a waste product with no further application.
    Nature has already shown us that any unwanted elements can be safely buried as this has been demonstrated at the natural reactors at Oklo which is located in the state of Gabon Africa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklo. Engineers know how to deal with the stuff, they have been handling it for fifty years and there is no rush to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. There is plenty of time to do it right or keep it ready for the newer technology in the pipeline such a tremendous concentrated and valuable source of heat energy that it is.

    I have searched and searched the net and have yet to find anybody that has been killed through contact with "waste" in the commercial power sector or anyone that has been killed as a result of radiation release at any power plant in the Western world. Chernobyls happen all the time in the fossil fuel sector but they are so frequent, nobody remembers them. It is the moral bankrupcy of the Green Movement that is resulting in the death of millions by opposing nuclear power in the false hope that one day renewables will take over. Nuclear today produces the energy equivalent of more than 12 million barrels of oil per day (excluding reactors on ship/submarines), it is at around 30 EXA JOULES. No other zero emissions power source (with the exception of hydro) is producing power in the exa joules today. Still, we are near the bottom of the learning curve and although its by no means perfect, it doesn't have to be, it just needs to be better than the alternatives, which it is thankfully. With concepts like "Conversion/Converters & Thermal/Fast Breeding energy will be available indefinitely, now that's a really comforting thought.
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    I ignored this and the related threads until the Kronospan chipboard workers went on strike against government subsidies for wood-fuelled power stations http://bit.ly/9zEwEU

    Then I realised that energy production from biomass is no longer marginal in the UK economy. It's big enough to have knock-on effects. Hence the extreme difficulty of assessing its environmental impact. How far down the chain of consequences do you look? If I buy these logs, will someone plant a tree? Or will someone build a house out of concrete because they can't afford the wood?

    The same imponderables surround fossil fuels such as gas. The sad fact is that if I don't burn gas, somebody else will. There is nothing I can do to ensure that fossil fuels stay in the ground where they belong - except protest like hell.

    If a lot of us stop using fossil fuels, the price will drop, and with it, the incentive for investment in renewables. The market truly is a cantankerous beast.

    The AECB paper and ensuing GBF discussion has certainly made me re-think my intention of buying a woodburner. Several neighbours have got them. Wood is no longer an edgy, 'fuel for free' option. There is a well-developed supply chain. Someone casually pointed out to me yesterday that their wood fuel costs more than gas. So why am I still hankering for a woodburner? Romanticism?

    Plants are inefficient converters of solar energy. If we relied on them for any significant fraction of our current energy consumption we would run out of land. (This is all beautifully explained in Mackay's book.) So biomass only makes sense as a minor energy source. With a population >6 billion, even with extreme energy conservation measures I don't think we can return to a pre-industrial energy mix in which biological sources predominate.

    The 'wedge' approach to climate action says that there are about a dozen things we can do to control greenhouse gas emissions, and that we have to do all of them, or almost all of them, if we want to succeed. (That's how nuclear energy came into this discussion. Personally I don't think nuclear energy is much use as a way of protecting the climate, but a lot of people think it provides one of the needed 'wedges'.)

    We need enough biomass capacity to mop up the low-grade wood such as building waste, which would otherwise go into landfill and generate methane (a far worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide). But once trees are planted specifically for fuel, biomass stops being part of the solution and becomes part of the problem.

    That has already happened for liquid biofuel. Crops and land which could provide food are being used to make motor fuel. That isn't cool. But it is still cool that some of the buses here in Brighton run on waste cooking oil. That really is fuel for free.

    In both cases - solid biomass and liquid biofuel - UK and other governments have provided the wrong incentives. That's the point we need to take away from the AECB paper. Energy conservation isn't sexy, and governments don't do enough to support it.

    Woodburning shouldn't be demonised. But de-emphasised? Yes.
  4.  
    Its very simple, we all just go and buy a forest each. Duh!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDamonHD
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    The "if I don't buy gas then someone else will" mantra is self-defeatist.

    If you don't burn it then (a) no one else will and you'll save the fossil CO2 getting into the atmosphere or (b) you'll postpone its emission a little and/or (c) you'll postpone the moment that the lack of gas or its steeply-rising price causes another very unpleasant economic dislocation.

    I'm burning 1/3rd the gas that I was 3 years ago: have you suddenly started consuming the difference?

    Think global, act local, etc...

    Rgds

    Damon
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    rhamdu, you said, "There is nothing I can do to ensure that fossil fuels stay in the ground where they belong - except protest like hell."

    Insulate and use less would be a good route to travel down, what ever we do it will all get used up and at that point we all wish that we had insulated, I'm not sure what good protesting does if any.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    I sense the formation of two camps here. Hopefully we'll maintain that precious little bit of neutral space where conflicting opinions can be aired giving each side the hope that consequent decisions either way will at least be informed.

    Personally, of all the discussions I've seen on this forum this one has been the most influential in terms of deciding future actions and directing future thinking.

    Thank you Tony for raising it in the first place, and thank you Brian for being so patient throughout. And thank you Keith for providing the forum for the discussion.

    I hope it won't be the final word, but if it is it's appropriate that Tony's last post more or less sums it up. Way to go!
  5.  
    Well summed up Tony and joiner- will now move away and return to my main worry ,pollution and resource waste impact of EFW (energy from waste). Promotional material contains interesting fairy stories. Basic facts are it is the most expensive method of producing energy and the most polluting for power e.g. SO2 burden more than 300 times higher than fossil fuel equivalent. Keep smiling.
    Kind regards
    Brian
    • CommentAuthorrhamdu
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    Yes, let's all go and have lunch!

    However, I would not want the final word in this discussion to be
    Posted By: tonyI'm not sure what good protesting does if any.


    Governments and their corporate sponsors often ignore protests. Until recently my daily work was in the offices of the 'protest industry' , and I was getting increasingly desperate to do something about climate change with my own hands. But things might be worse if nobody ever protested.

    It is also important to have positive examples of individuals, towns, cities, states and nations (go Maldives!) taking action against climate change.

    By personal actions we can usefully postpone some current gas and oil consumption. But the gas and oil is already almost exhausted. The long game is about stopping the extraction of coal.

    In a sense, I am insulating my roof - and maybe installing a woodburner - in the hope that, very indirectly, it will lead to China and the US ending coal mining a tiny bit sooner.
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    It is the price that will effect the consumers choice ultimately of whether that gas or whatever stays in the ground. If we really want to change peoples attitudes then much higher prices due to world demand or simply because of resource depletion are necessary to force conservation.

    Brian, interested in hearing more about EFW as is popular in scandinavia.
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010 edited
     
    What's the more important, conservation or efficiency? One appears to reduce demand almost immediately, one appears to prolong the dependency.
    • CommentAuthorevan
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    It's possible to convert wood into a high energy density liquid fuel which is more economical to transport and clean to burn.

    http://www.timbertransportforum.org.uk/Upload/Documents/41_Fuelwood_into_liquid.pdf

    Maybe a good idea for Finland, a bad idea for everywhere else!
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    That is a whole new thread topic -- will I start it or will you?
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    Posted By: gcar90What's the more important, conservation or efficiency?


    This gets into the 'sustainability' debate, a true dead end if ever there was one.
  6.  
    Evan- A proposal for wood to oil process on Scottish island detailed using 72,000 tonnes of timber and 2 million litres of diesel to produce wood oil ,it would be used to fuel powerplant producing nett output of 1.8MW( less than output of single offshore turbine). The low ph specified 2.2 would require specialised storage and equipment used in process i.e. stainless steel throughout. The detailed s.g. greater than 1 and the fact it would be immiscible created further problems especially in an island location Proposal to ship off oil if turbine not working presents hazard , any spillage ends up in bilges where it corrodes hull. A further hazard is high solids content and problem that exposure to fumes is detailed to cause cataracts.
    I accept there may have been progress since date of your article but not personally aware.
    Going back to biomass combustion I feel one item requiring clarification is impression that emissions are ok if they appear clear. PM 2.5 denotes particle size of .0025 millimetres or smaller, invisible to naked eye. Bulk of biomass combustion particles are known to be in this size spectrum.They are able to gain access to bloodstream through lung lining and it only needs 1 contaminated particle for serious health problems which is why there is no known limit of safety. Due diligence and duty of care details priority should be reduction.
    rgds
    Brian
    • CommentAuthorevan
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    Sounds nasty Brian.
    What do you mean by "it only needs 1 contaminated particle for serious health problems"?
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    Brian,

    How do pm 2.5 compare with pm 10 from diesels or particulate from lpg and fuel oil as a health hazard
    Bio oil is really acidic but this can be upgraded to something more conventional with emerging chemical processing technology.
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010 edited
     
    -
    • CommentAuthorgcar90
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2010
     
    How to stop double posts ?or is it my pc problem?
   
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