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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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  1.  
    Over recent days comments have been added that indicate a misunderstanding of the wide variation in hazardous pollution created by combustion choices and the structure of biomass.
    A report prepared for the Scottish Executive includes boiler fine particle emissions data, table 2.4 and 2.5 which details the hazardous pollution comparison between types of fuel and types of biomass. Biomass combustion information shows that log boilers create 105g of fine particles per Gj of energy input , wood chip 60-80 and pellet boilers 30g. This thread indicates oil combustion is similar to biomass but the data from the report shows oil produces far lower particle pollution at 5-12g/Gj depending on type of oil used.
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/243574/0067768.pdf
    The concerns raised reference biomass storage should be covered in this wood fuels handbook which includes information on storage problems , impact of water content and details the chemical content of biomass. The data shows chlorine content in one type of biomass can be 40 times higher than in another biomass and we know chlorine indicates hazardous dioxins in the emissions. Bark content in pelleted material can also add to particulate emissions.
    http://nuke.biomasstradecentres.eu/Portals/0/D2.1.1%20-%20WOOD%20FUELS%20HANDBOOK_BTC_EN.pdf
    Various extreme and derogatory statements have recently been made against anyone daring to try and bring awareness of the health and environmental impact created by certain biomass combustion processes so I have reluctantly decided this is my last contribution to GBF. Just hoping the GBF cleansing process will include emphasis on biomass emissions to at least assist folk in the unfortunate Mikee situation.
    Wishing all on GBF a happy and healthy future, kind regards - Brian
    Know any unbiased forums that discuss incineration/EfW, factory farming and diversion of land from food production to dedicated biomass?.Sadly we appear determined to ignore due diligence and duty of care in many areas of decision making but then , who cares?
    •  
      CommentAuthornigel
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2012
     
    I think the intention is to rebalance the discussion so that everyone can understand better the pros and cons of biomass and also the different technologies. I think also that we should not ignore the issue of particulate emissions.
    However it is clear from your posts what your position is and it is restated time and time again, its just become a little tedious to hear the same issue raised time and time again. If you are not going to post again because you want to continue to reiterate the same point then I think we are better off without you I am sorry to say.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2012
     
    Brian,

    as Nigel says, its give and take that is needed. A problem on discussion forums in general is the intolerance of other points of view coupled with this British desire to have not only black & white discussions but also one solution for all problems.

    The fact is that regardless of what you like you will always find someone pushing some study or other point out how bad it is. Even breathing is bad for the environment:wink: The future lies in diversity of which wood burning definitely plays a roll.

    Jonti
  2.  
    Nigel, I have no axe to grind on this subject as I do not burn wood or directly suffer the effects of wood burning. I do not see however that the discussion is rebalanced if those who point out the disadvantages of wood burning leave the forum. It simply becomes a pro wood burning forum. It seems already that the subject matter on the forum has changed to be largely about wood burning. If it continues in this vein I too will leave as wood burning does not interest me. I am interested in reducing energy usage not changing to another source.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012
     
    Posted By: PeterStarck, I have no axe to grind on this subject..............
    Nor I.
    I am interested in reducing energy usage not changing to another source..........
    Are not the two, inextricably linked Peter?:confused:
    • CommentAuthorBeau
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012 edited
     
    I am a wood burner but would like the the naysayers to stay to keep some balance. I except many of their arguments and they have made me look at using biomass very carefully. Please stay just let the subjects relating to biomass be discussed as many of us own and rely on wood for fuel and will continue to do so for some time.
    (living in a well insulated house growing our own wood)

    Beau
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012
     
    Owl, reducing energy use is independent of the type of energy used so the two are not linked

    many people in my town who can no longer afford gas are buying wood burners and burning any wood that they can lay their hands on without doing any insulation or draught proofing.
    • CommentAuthormike7
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012
     
    Posted By: tonyOwl, reducing energy use is independent of the type of energy used so the two are not linked


    On the other hand, for the fortunate few who can plant, tend, fell, cart, cut, split, stack, store, carry and stoke and stoke again their wood fuel, there is definitely an incentive to reduce the amount they use!
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012
     
    BrianWilson - it may be too late now as you have left, but just to say I'm sorry that you feel it necessary to leave this forum. Surely it is better to stay and participate in the debate rather than scurry off to another forum where only like minded people post! I have found this forum very useful and IMO the vast majority on here are like-minded only in the sense that we are all very conscious of green issues and what we can do as individuals.

    I have had a quick look at the Scottish report (well the excutive summary actually, as the whole 112 page report will take some time to work through!) and the thing that strikes me it that why are folk in cities like Edinburgh and Dundee installing biomass boilers or intending to install them? Don't they have mains gas there? If they do then surely it's a case of the "bleedin obvious" that to install wood burning devices of any sort in a city is not a good idea.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012
     
    Here here.
  3.  
    Owlman, Tony has already said what is obvious, which is that reducing energy is independent of fuel type.
  4.  
    Does anyone know why BedZed abandonned their wood fired boiler system and switched over to gas?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2012 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyreducing energy use is independent of the type of energy used so the two are not linked
    True, but also they are tightly linked, and govts' failure to grasp that linkage means they haven't really a clue what to do.

    They mouth off about reducing carbon etc whilst having no compelling understanding that would cause them to resist the old energy interests. They truly don't see clearly why new coal power stations, gas/fracking etc are so bad.

    They really can't stop thinking that the challenge is to replace fossil with something nicer. As every calc rightly shows that there's no hope of doing so without crippling costs and crippled/uncompetitive economy, it's effectively biz as usual, stay friends with the old energy interests, token gestures towards 'green' technologies.

    The challenge is not 'to replace fossil with something nicer' - that is necessary, but it's secondary - more like a effect than a cause. To attempt that without first, or simultaneously, massively
    Posted By: tonyreducing energy use
    is a waste of time, as we're currently seeing. If energy use is massively reduced, then
    Posted By: tonythe type of energy used
    can change radically, but not without. The two issues are tightly linked, but govts are not making anything of that linkage.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2012
     
    The government has committed us to 2 targets, lowering CO2 levels and a proportion of generation from renewables. Not a case of using renewables to reduce CO2 emissions only. What the Climate Change Act 2008 is all about.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2012
     
    Posted By: PeterStarck.....Owlman, Tony has already said what is obvious, which is that reducing energy is independent of fuel type.

    It also depends on your interpretation of energy reduction, micro or macro. When you burn log wood for CH as I do, I'm off the gas grid, you learn not to waste, not to overheat; as mike7 said, the work involved is too hard, high efficiency boiler and insulation part of the equation here. That frugality alone saves energy let alone any discussion on tree growth and its overall generally beneficial global effect. It has been said on other biomass discussions, and I agree, that biomass is not for everyone, but its use can be part of energy reduction and hence linked.
    As for energy reduction in general; for the majority, a greater effect could be achieved by personal lifestyle change. I don't see much chance of that though.
  5.  
    Bot du paille -ref “Does anyone know why BedZed abandonned their wood fired boiler system and switched over to gas”
    This 7 years on project report by BioRegional details problems experienced with the biomass CHP plant and reasons for closedown .
    http://www.bioregional.com/files/publications/BedZED_seven_years_on.pdf
    Difficult to understand how this situation arose , the problems appear fundamental and would surely have been avoided by research into similar projects before commencing.
    I suspect the gas fired boiler system would have been incorporated to provide back up heating/hot water to cover downtime on the biomass plant. , both planned and unforeseen.
    I note the report details a proposal to replace biomass CHP with heating/hot water only but cannot find any detail of outcome.
    The report includes interesting data on energy savings within the development.
    Hoping this helps
    • CommentAuthormartint
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2012
     
    There are 2 major factors in this discussion - 'clean' energy on the one hand, and 'green' energy on the other. The major problem in sustaining the clean element is the ever increasing demands on fossil fuels, to the extent that the US is now relying on massively polluting shale oil recovery, and China may also become a big player, (if they can avoid polluting the Yangtse river), whilst in Canada the even worse tar sands oil recovery process is becoming an environmental nightmare. It may be cleaner to burn oil than wood, but at what cost to other parts of the world? We may argue that the oil we burn is not from these sources, but unless we reduce demand globally, the pressure on price will make these resources more economic to develop.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2012
     
    I very much like the idea of reducing demand. Good one
  6.  
    Owlman, I appreciate what you are saying but I was talking about the simple case without variables. For a set of fixed criteria reducing energy use is independent of fuel type. You may well be careful not to waste the wood that you have spent your time and energy cutting but someone else who buys in the logs and finds it much cheaper than another fuel type may be wasteful. If all housing were insulated to much higher standards then there would be a reduction in space heating and hence energy use, whether the fuel used was wood or any other. Changes in lifestyle could reduce energy use but as you say difficult to carry out.
    • CommentAuthorHairlocks
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2012
     
    Posted By: BrianwilsonOver recent days comments have been added that indicate a misunderstanding of the wide variation in hazardous pollution created by combustion choices and the structure of biomass.
    A report prepared for the Scottish Executive includes boiler fine particle emissions data, table 2.4 and 2.5 which details the hazardous pollution comparison between types of fuel and types of biomass. Biomass combustion information shows that log boilers create 105g of fine particles per Gj of energy input , wood chip 60-80 and pellet boilers 30g. This thread indicates oil combustion is similar to biomass but the data from the report shows oil produces far lower particle pollution at 5-12g/Gj depending on type of oil used.
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/243574/0067768.pdf" >http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/243574/0067768.pdf


    My inital scan of that document and figures I have the follwoing comments/observations.

    The Nussbaumer et al, 2008 gives emmissions of
    Nussbaumer et al, 2008 Scotland tests
    underfeed Chip 80 g/GJ 14 g/GJ to 55 g/GJ
    moving grate Chip 60 g/GJ 25 g/GJ
    moving grate pellet 60 g/GJ 60 g/GJ
    log 105 g/GJ 68 g/GJ

    They then state the differecne is probably due to the inclusion of lots of very old burners in the Nussbaumer report that are not in use in Scotland. More interesting is the variation in the log boiler as out of the 7 test the result are
    3.1 25.2 28.3 32.5 18.6 18.0 355.1
    but gives no hint to why there may be a variation. the 3.1 the the lowest figure and could be oil if it was repeatable. The 355.1 is also an outlier and if anything should be looked into further, ignoring it (and 3.1) as experminetal error would give a mean figure of 24.5 (median 25.2) which I would have thought would be a more approriate figure to use.

    Are there any better test reports that detail the variance in the test conditions better or highlight practial measures a householder can use to reduce the emmissions as much as possible.
  7.  
    Hairlocks – Reference queries on boiler test results the main problem with assessing the reality of biomass combustion pollution creation appears to be the wide variation in fuel characteristics and the actual field operation of the appliance. We know with virgin timber the bark content can increase PM pollution 6-10 times above de-barked material, water content also increases PM creation. With log burning the operation of the appliance brings significant impact, it is reported that certain Countries require log burners to incorporate substantial heat storage in order to facilitate optimum combustion. The unfortunate Mikee experience reported in this forum illustrates that any anticipated pollution reduction from use of a certified appliance can easily be thrown away in the field.
    The Scottish Authorities aim for a PM ceiling of 20g/Gj of energy input with England 50% higher at 30g. Sadly a current proposal to burn 40,000 tonnes/yr of wet freshly felled timber on the Isle of Arran is scheduled to create 230g/Gj, the poor efficiency will again more than double this pollution compared against alternative combustion for energy processes i.e. 500 plus times higher than equivalent gas .
    This report includes a number of relevant concerns and illustrates the need to incorporate abatement technologies.
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:GBK381UCtc4J:www.norden.org/en/nordic-council-of-ministers/councils-of-ministers/nordic-council-of-ministers-for-the-environment-mr-m/institutes-co-operative-bodies-and-working-groups/working-groups/working-group-for-aquatic-ecosystem-aeg/nordair-bios+austrian+wood+burning+air+pollution&hl=en&gl=uk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESh47iHr33xlToLBVmCPxz1jjdDAXwbooNBOf9kF5kachdBImu47xZguW7tCev65JzCLUGoZ8lCTL4f1PCYil4aVcWvwpmIFVR5nNenWDvyhrTk3QLAVkwKtF_S5sdaMR8bpOC9z&sig=AHIEtbQDpRERYgkPeI8TFEKbXSFosALsCw
    It is reported that Scottish Authorities are retrospectively incorporating ceramic filters in biomass plants at schools and other public buildings, they appear to provide a practical solution for PM reduction but it is understand cost is a serious consideration. Renewablejohn has experience in this field and can possibly update on domestic usage but it is noted that ceramic filters are now incorporated in certain domestic heating units. 4 years ago I suggested to the Environment Agency that the UK should embrace the use of these filters because of reported good performance characteristics on the Continent but the E.A. claimed they would not withstand the thermal shock , having experience of ceramics subjected to rapid thermal changes I suspect the bottom line was cost implications.
    Whatever abatement technologies are embraced the research indicates that the main influence on impact will be the user. “ 50 shades of grey” drifting into Mikee’s window brings little pleasure and significant aggro but this unfortunate situation could be easily avoided with the application of a little common sense.
    • CommentAuthorGaryB
    • CommentTimeSep 5th 2012
     
    Brian

    Good to see you are still contributing - please keep doing so, we need a range of views on this forum!
    • CommentAuthorjamesingram
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2012 edited
     
    as above; here,here
    several contributors seems to have self-censored ? let's hope some of them are just on holiday as they had a lot of quality input to offer.
  8.  
    Dont include me on the list but I am struggling on internet access as my mobile dongle died and we dont have a landline thanks to BT.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2022
     
    New BBC report on the controversy of wood pellets as a green energy source. Part 1. Part 2 to follow on the 14th.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59546278
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2022
     
    There are two references to Drax in that report - one defending their import of wood pellets, the other refers to wood chip.

    These are of course different - but is everyone clear which is being debated in this thread?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2022
     
    Posted By: Cliff PopeThere are two references to Drax in that report - one defending their import of wood pellets, the other refers to wood chip.
    It seems clear the BBC report is about wood pellets and the mentions of wood chips are dues to confusion, probably by the BBC reporter. I've asked them.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2022
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Cliff Pope</cite>There are two references to Drax in that report - one defending their import of wood pellets, the other refers to wood chip.

    These are of course different - but is everyone clear which is being debated in this thread?</blockquote>

    I think the reference to wood chip at the very end of the report is an error. The DRAX website only talks specifically about pellets being used.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2022
     
    Slightly off-topic but connected in a way (particulates), I wonder whatever happened to Mikeee5 and his problem with smoke from his neighbour's log burner? The last posting was way back in August 2018:

    http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=9305&page=55#Item_23
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2022
     
    Second report on DRAX published today:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59546281

    I didn't realise that DRAX received £832m in UK government subsidies in 2020 and will do so until 2027 - wow!
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