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    Mongabay, a leading resource for news and perspectives on environmental and conservation issues related to the tropics, has launched Tropical Conservation Science - a new, open access academic e-journal. It will cover a wide variety of scientific and social studies on tropical ecosystems, their biodiversity and the threats posed to them. Tropical Conservation Science - March 8, 2008.

    At the 148th Meeting of the OPEC Conference, the oil exporting cartel decided to leave its production level unchanged, sending crude prices spiralling to new records (above $104). OPEC "observed that the market is well-supplied, with current commercial oil stocks standing above their five-year average. The Conference further noted, with concern, that the current price environment does not reflect market fundamentals, as crude oil prices are being strongly influenced by the weakness in the US dollar, rising inflation and significant flow of funds into the commodities market." OPEC - March 5, 2008.

    Kyushu University (Japan) is establishing what it says will be the world’s first graduate program in hydrogen energy technologies. The new master’s program for hydrogen engineering is to be offered at the university’s new Ito campus in Fukuoka Prefecture. Lectures will cover such topics as hydrogen energy and developing the fuel cells needed to convert hydrogen into heat or electricity. Of all the renewable pathways to produce hydrogen, bio-hydrogen based on the gasification of biomass is by far both the most efficient, cost-effective and cleanest. Fuel Cell Works - March 3, 2008.

    An entrepreneur in Ivory Coast has developed a project to establish a network of Miscanthus giganteus farms aimed at producing biomass for use in power generation. In a first phase, the goal is to grow the crop on 200 hectares, after which expansion will start. The project is in an advanced stage, but the entrepreneur still seeks partners and investors. The plantation is to be located in an agro-ecological zone qualified as highly suitable for the grass species. Contact us - March 3, 2008.

    A 7.1MW biomass power plant to be built on the Haiwaiian island of Kaua‘i has received approval from the local Planning Commission. The plant, owned and operated by Green Energy Hawaii, will use albizia trees, a hardy species that grows in poor soil on rainfall alone. The renewable power plant will meet 10 percent of the island's energy needs. Kauai World - February 27, 2008.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Forest biomass from Sweden efficient fuel; long distance exports cost-effective

According to a PhD thesis to be defended at the Mid Sweden University, the utilization of biomass from managed forests as a source of green energy is efficient at reducing CO2 emissions and at replacing fossil fuels. Interestingly, the most energy efficient way to transport this 'forest fuel' is by relying on a lashed system instead of on pelletizing the biomass.

Researcher Lisa Eriksson found that large-scale, long-distance transports of biofuels from central Sweden to central Europe may be both a cost-effective and attractive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She undertook comparative analyses of costs, primary energy use, and CO2 emissions performed for various forest fuel systems. The findings show that a system of lashed branches and tops from harvested forests evinces good cost-effectiveness. It also has a high potential to reduce the net emissions of CO2 per hectare of forest.

A large number of systems were compared in terms of terrain, concentration of forest fuel, and transport distance. If the preconditions are changed, then the potential for the various forest fuel systems changes as well. Eriksson compared these different systems on a local, national, and international scale.

A lashed system means that more biomass per hectare can be delivered to end users than with a pellet system. This is due to the consumption of biomass in the production of pellets. The amount of material gathered per hectare is a central factor. Extracting brush from thinning together with stubs, branches, and tops from harvesting yields a high potential to avoid fossil CO2 emissions per hectare of forest.

The total amount of available forest fuel in Sweden has been estimated at roughly 66 TWh per year (roughly equivalent to the total electricity consumption of a country like Austria).

Sweden itself is already Europe's greenest economy by far, with biomass providing the bulk (63%) of its renewable energy consumption, which now surpasses the 40 per cent mark (previous post). Eriksson's research now shows the country has the capacity to supply biomass to other countries:
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Lisa Eriksson will publicly defend her thesis at the Department of Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics at Mid Sweden University, Östersund Campus. The subject is Eco-technology and Environmental Science and the title of the dissertation is Forest Fuel Systems­-Comparative Analyses in a Life Cycle Perspective.

Image: illustration of an intelligent unmanned forest vehicle that transports timber from the felling place to the transportation road on its own. Credit: Umea Universitet (Sweden).

Mituniversitetet: Forest fuel reduces climate changes - June 3, 2008.

Biopact: A look at Sweden's bioenergy progress - towards a post-oil society - February 24, 2008


Blogger Sunny said...

This makes sense on the face of it (the loss of material due to pelletizing would definitely reduce the effectiveness of the process). I'd have to take a look at the original thesis to be sure and look at the lifecycle calculations.

Fair winds,
Sunny Lam

Ffenyx Rising

7:39 AM  

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