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Bio mass use for our energy needs

 
                                  
Posts: 6
Location: Bellingham, Wa
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Biomass seems to be entering into mainstream for energy production.
I am concerned of over use, deforestation, poor management how do we address these issues
 
paul wheaton
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Education.

And in 2009, I think the best education is this sort of forum. 

I think blogs and articles end up too preachy - it's too hard to tell who is a mouthpiece for some other mission.  Or some inappropriate financial gain.

It seems the problem is with people that will not believe something unless they are fed fancy commercials.

Perhaps if we teach people logic and reason, they will be skeptical of what madison avenue feeds us, and a bit more open minded about what  .... well ..... that's a bit tricky too, isn't it.  People seem to really want to hear from the wackos, but turn a deaf ear to the people of logic and reason.  Too dry perhaps?  Not entertaining enough?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I happen to come from a different spiritual tradition than the Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, but I really like his blog.

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com

He talks a lot about the energy economy, including biofuels and agriculture.

He's great about being reasonable and logical, but like a lot of other commentators, he notes that people tend to use reason only in a few special circumstances.  His blog constantly mentions the power of myth to frame discussions.  Logic can move people around within such a frame, or gently suggest that their frame is incomplete, but it takes another sort of work to get outside of a frame.

I think I agree with him that the myth of progress, taken at face value by too many, is a big part of the problem here.  Complete faith in progress would suggest that we can use biofuels more rapidly in the next century than we used fossil fuels in the previous century, even though economics, ecology, logistics etc. don't support such an idea.

I believe in progress, but in the way that a lapsed Catholic believes.  Nurturing more appropriate myths seems to be the way forward.  And perhaps some techniques for that can ethically be borrowed from advertising/marketing toolkits, though certainly many of their means are unjustifiable by the best of ends.
 
Robert Ray
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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A company is applying for a biomass generation plant in our area. I am cautious since I have never been around or near a small steam plant.  I of course have concerns about water consumption along with increased semi traffic in our small town (estimated 90 trips of wood waste per day for the boilers). Does anyone have any experience with a biomass plant in their area? Good or bad.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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lapinerobert wrote:
A company is applying for a biomass generation plant in our area.  I...have concerns about water consumption...


The water in a steam plant needs to be distilled water, or it clogs the works.

Occasionally there are some additives.

In any event, it is almost always far cheaper to condense vapors than to discard them and then purify or otherwise doctor a large amount of incoming water.

The downside is, this condensation process usually dumps heat into a nearby body of water.  The smaller the plant, and the larger the body of water, the less of a problem it is likely to be, but it will make at least some change to the nearby aquatic habitat. 

If it's not situated near a body of water, it may consume significant water in a cooling tower, but I think the traffic will still be the more noticeable problem.
 
Robert Ray
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All water for the boiler will be coming from a well. Most people in the area are on wells for there domestic use. The quantity extracted and if it will harm our wells or require us to drill deeper is one of my main concerns.
Cooling tower water will be using effluent water from a sewage treatment plant close by and returning it to the treatment lagoons.
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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absolutely..there are cogen plants nearby and they are supposed to burn wood waste..etc...however..loggers will chip up entire forests and sell the chips to the plants..deforesting larger areas for the $$$

we have lost a lot of public lands woods around here because of this..they supposedly replant the areas..but they will clear cut the entire area and then replant tiny seedlings over the area of junky trees..most of them are eaten when they are tiny by the animals who now have nothing left to eat as well as no cover..

i am against it
 
                                  
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Location: Bellingham, Wa
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I think it is unfortunate that forest areas are being logged for biomass energy production for centralized power production. It is also a realistic outcome due to our energy usage. 

I feel that this could be cause for small scale production for the permaculture homestead or Eco-Village. a coppice rotation for fuel wood has been feasible in the past  and it is certainly can be for the future. A permaculture plan should include a fuel wood forest utilizing a variety of trees depending on the size of settlement would determine the type of harvest area and rotations. I have done some preliminary calculations based on how much could be produced and the amount would increase with each harvest rotation. I could feasible for a existing town to do this we just need to plan for it and not leave it up to market forces.

Coppice rotations I feel are the no kill forest management scheme the tree resprout from the stumps or suckers that grow.

How can we achieve this even on a small scale to curb the demand of mass logging and deforestetion of forest that take years to regrow
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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lapinerobert wrote:
All water for the boiler will be coming from a well. Most people in the area are on wells for there domestic use. The quantity extracted and if it will harm our wells or require us to drill deeper is one of my main concerns.
Cooling tower water will be using effluent water from a sewage treatment plant close by and returning it to the treatment lagoons.



Unless I'm way off base, the boiler water will be a one-time, or at least an infrequent, impact.  If they use reverse osmosis to purify the well water, then they will draw several times what it takes to fill the loop as they start up the system, but they might even put the wastewater from purification back into the ground or into the municipal supply.

A warmer treatment lagoon might be win-win.
 
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