29 April 2008

Biomass to Electricity: The Reliable Renewable

The world produces abundant waste biomass which humans could be using as fuel, instead of coal, oil, and gas. Forward-thinking engineers and entrepreneurs are beginning to act on this promise, without waiting for corrupt bureaucrats and politicians to give them the go-ahead.
Renegy Holdings, Inc. (Renegy) (Nasdaq:RNGY) announced today that it has successfully synchronized its 24 megawatt (MW) biomass power plant located in Snowflake, Arizona, to the electric utility grid. As of April 24, Renegy has been generating electricity from its Snowflake facility and is currently selling test power in advance of commencing full commercial operations.

...The plant is located adjacent to a recycled newsprint mill owned and operated by Catalyst Paper Corp. Fuel for the plant will be derived from wood-waste material from local green waste sites and the surrounding forests and from waste recycled paper fibers generated by the newsprint mill. The current fuel inventory at the plant site includes approximately 200,000 tons of wood waste fuel, approximately equivalent to a two-year supply. The Snowflake plant will sell its entire power output through long-term power purchase agreements in place with Arizona Public Service and Salt River Project, Arizona's two largest electric utility companies. __Money.CNN
An earlier Al Fin posting recommended Renegy as a stock prospect to watch. Andritz, an Austrian company, is involved in similar biomass to electricity projects in Europe.

Biomass to electricity is a baseload, 24/7 renewable power generation approach, unlike current wind and solar energy schemes. Until battery storage is able to effectively scale up to utility needs, we are likely to see more plants that combine solar thermal with biomass to electricity, to provide 24 hour energy needs. Using biomass in place of coal or gas should provide significant energy savings--once the infrastructure for collecting and processing biomass is more mature.

Previously published in Al Fin Energy


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Blogger Barba Rija said...

"Biomass to electricity is a baseload, 24/7 renewable power generation approach, unlike current wind and solar energy schemes."

That maybe right, but this is a problem that has been exaggerated by FUD, as in my own country, Portugal, the problem was so easy to solve that would make you shy. Imagine mountains and rivers. Wind blades up, dams below. Every time the wind blows, wind blades create surplus energy, which is transferred to hydropower dams, by rising their water from some tanks to higher ones. When power is needed, and the wind doesn't blow, the higher tanks simply transfer their water to the lower ones, generating electricity in the process. These simple tanks work as giant batteries. No Lithium required. No lead required. Just rainfall.

Having said that, I generally agree with you on your thoughts. You seem to be fond of biofuels like a lot, so you don't agree that wheat corn ethanol is a scam perpetuated by the government's subsidies, rather than by their own economics, i.e. they work as a sink of energy, rather than a producer of it.

Wednesday, 30 April, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

I like the biomass approach. Whether cellulosic electricity or BTLs via thermochemical processes, biomass is one of the better forms of solar energy at this time.

I am more fond of cellulosic alcohols and algal biodiesel than of food-to-fuels approaches.

Brazilian cane ethanol is far more economical than maize alcohol, and the government should drop the tariff against Brazilian ethanol.

The maize ethanol industry will eventually rise or fall on its own merits, rather than be propped up by government subsidies.

Wednesday, 30 April, 2008  
Blogger yamahaeleven said...

Biomass will take time to develop into a serious source of energy, in the meantime, some may suffer because of this:

Friday, 02 May, 2008  

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