Earthsummit 2002 - A guide to UK Local Agenda 21 renewable energy projects. Earthsummit 2002
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A plant.

Biomass Power.


Wood is the oldest fuel known to man. Burning wood rather than fossil fuels can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global climate change.
Wood fuel is carbon dioxide (C02) neutral. It gives off only as much CO2 when burnt as it stores during its lifetime. In addition, wood fuel has very low levels of sulphur, a chemical that contributes to acid rain.

Biomass refers to energy produced by the combustion or gasification of organic material. It includes short - rotation coppice, forestry waste and chicken litter.

Growing crops for fuel, particularly wood coppice, offers very promising developments for the future. Short rotation arable coppicing, using fast growing willows, is currently seen as an important source of fuel for electricity generation in the UK.
Biomass has some attractions as a fuel over some other renewables since it is not an intermittent resource - it can be supplied on a continuous basis to fuel base load plants.

The overall process involves several stages - growing over two or three years, cutting and converting to wood chip, storage and drying, transport to a power plant for combustion.

Energy from crops has been recognised as a potential key renewables market segment in the UK Government's Renewables Policy.
A number of biomass schemes, including forest waste, are currently under development in the UK. The £28m Arbre project in Yorkshire is an example of an advanced wood fired gasification/turbine plant.
Biomass heating is now being used in several of the most innovative building projects in the UK - for example the Norman Foster designed greenhouse of the Welsh National Botanic Gardens and the Eden project in Cornwall.

Biofuels

There are other crops that can be grown to produce fuels, in the form of oil, for use in specially converted engines. These are called Biodiesels. Oilseed rape is one crop that can be used in this way.

Other crops can be grown for direct burning. These are called Biofuels. Growing crops for fuel may provide a useful alternative for farmers at a time when there is a falling demand for traditional produce.

© Ambit Interactive 2002
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