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Emission reductions from woody biomass waste for energy as an alternative to open burning

, : Emission reductions from woody biomass waste for energy as an alternative to open burning. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 61(1): 63-68

Woody biomass waste is generated throughout California from forest management, hazardous fuel reduction, and agricultural operations. Open pile burning in the vicinity of generation is frequently the only economic disposal option. A framework is developed to quantify air emissions reductions for projects that alternatively utilize biomass waste as fuel for energy production. A demonstration project was conducted involving the grinding and 97-km one-way transport of 6096 bone-dry metric tons (BDT) of mixed conifer forest slash in the Sierra Nevada foothills for use as fuel in a biomass power cogeneration facility. Compared with the traditional open pile burning method of disposal for the forest harvest slash, utilization of the slash for fuel reduced particulate matter (PM) emissions by 98% (6 kg PM/BDT biomass), nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 54% (1.6 kg NOx/BDT), nonmethane volatile organics (NMOCs) by 99% (4.7 kg NMOCs/BDT), carbon monoxide (CO) by 97% (58 kg CO/BDT), and carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) by 17% (0.38 t CO2e/BDT). Emission contributions from biomass processing and transport operations are negligible. CO2e benefits are dependent on the emission characteristics of the displaced marginal electricity supply. Monetization of emissions reductions will assist with fuel sourcing activities and the conduct of biomass energy projects.


PMID: 21305889

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