Biomess?

<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jan/14/green-biomass-boilers-may-waste-billions-public-money
"Billions of pounds of public money is to be spent supporting ‘green’ boilers, despite evidence from the government’s own experts and industry that they will do little to help the UK meet its clean energy targets.
A study by the Department of Energy and Climate Change found that biomass boilers in the non-domestic sector were around 10-20% less efficient than expected. Those boilers account for 90% of payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the government’s flagship scheme to encourage a shift to low carbon heating.
The UK has pushed biomass boilers as a technology to help meet an EU target of getting at least 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, incentivising businesses and individuals to switch to them in return for payments under the RHI.
But “under-performance appears widespread in the UK biomass heat sector,” the paper admits, adding that the efficiency shortfall “also means emissions will be higher than laboratory test results suggest”.
Just £128.9m had been paid through the RHI as of November 2014, but the final cost in public money could be over £10bn because those installing biomass boilers under the scheme receive annual payments for several years, Decc’s own impact assessment shows. So far, most RHI payments appear to have been banked by wealthy landowners.
To be promoted as a renewable source of energy, the biomass boilers need to have a 85% efficiency rate for converting fuel to energy – but the Decc study reveals the average efficiency rate of installed boilers was 66.5%.
The target rate may be unreachable, as the report found that the biomass heating systems surveyed “can only achieve levels around 76% (on average)”.
Yet no field studies of biomass boiler efficiency were carried out before the RHI’s introduction because Decc viewed biomass as an established and internationally successful technology.
“It is concerning that government has belatedly recognised that many biomass installations will seemingly not contribute to its renewable energy targets despite billions of pounds of public money being committed via the RHI,” said Simon Lomax, managing director of Kensa Group, a manufacturer of heat pump, a rival low carbon heating technology.
“Policy flaws have resulted in absurdly generous tariffs for biomass installations, attracting inexperienced entrants to an immature market which does not benefit from any effective regulation,” he told the Guardian.
The sole regulator for biomass boilers is the Microgeneration Certification Scheme but it only covers smaller models, below 45KW in capacity. “In effect this means there are no quality standards for almost 90% of all schemes under the RHI,” Decc’s paper says.
“The absence of any quality standard above 45kW, and of data collection and sharing is remarkable, and differs from most other countries that have seen a biomass heat sector develop successfully,” it adds.
Much of the research for the design of the RHI was sub-contracted out to consultancies such as AEA and NERA and the Guardian understands that neither the figures they produced nor evidence of the renewability of biomass boilers, were scrutinised in detail by the Decc hierarchy.
“Among scientists and engineers there was huge concern but policymakers just didn’t understand – or didn’t want to understand it,” a source involved in the RHI design process told the Guardian. “Decc should have required us to provide suitable evidence to prove that non-domestic biomass boilers eligible for RHI funding were a renewable technology, but they didn’t bother.”"
Chris
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Chris J Dixon Nottingham UK
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On 14/01/15 14:57, Chris J Dixon wrote:

Yet more evidence that 'green' policies are not expected to work, are only 'cosmetic' solutions.
"Minister, we have to meet a renewable commitment: Don't you think we should measure how well we are doing?"
"Whatever for, If we don't measure, no one can refute our claims that we are meeting targets, can they? And that gets the Green harridans off our backs."
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An unbiased opinion, then?
Probably miffed he hasn't had a taxpayer handout - unlike his mates in other parts of this sort of industry.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:11:32 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

I don't understand that. How will they "not contribute"? They are still burning biomass rather than a fossil fuel. They might not contribute *as much* as expected but they will still contribute.

the

Heat pumps do come under the RHI. But the heat they produce is "low grade", if you have underfloor heating already all well and good but to runa conventional type CH system needs two stage heat pump, which adds to cost and complexity. Not to mention the space required for and disruption when installing the collector, bore holes are another option if you are on suitable ground.
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

    What is the difference between burning biomass and a fossil fuel? In the real world?
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On 14/01/2015 18:38, Capitol wrote:

If it takes zero fossil fuel to make and transport the biomass it saves all of the CO2 that would be produced by burning fossil fuel. However as it takes fossil fuel to produce and transport biomass it doesn't save 100%. However the more efficient the boiler the more it can save. At some point in boiler (in)efficiency it actually generates more CO2 from biomass than burning gas. As the Decc is worried about the efficiency of boilers I would think they aren't high enough to save any CO2.
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On 14/01/2015 18:38, Capitol wrote:

Provided you keep planting trees you are burning recently stored carbon from photosynthesis (although some bio fuels are completely insane). In principle it is carbon neutral provided that you don't have to put too much effort into growing the biofuel crop and/or you are using a waste stream (straw burners for CH are popular with some farmers up here).
If you burn fossil fuels then you are releasing CO2 back into the environment that hasn't seen the light of day since the coal measures were laid down. It has a slightly different isotopic signature since C14 decays away over time and photosynthesis preferentially grabs C12.
Coal is a lot more energy dense than wood but also contains a fair amount of sulphur which has to be removed for domestic smokeless use.
Regards, Martin Brown
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It's one of those nice concepts that will make sod all difference because you need huge amounts of land to grow enough crop.
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On 14/01/15 22:56, Tim Streater wrote:

Exactly. Nothing *wrong* with burning biomass *waste* like paper plastic or straw, but a total waste of time planting land that has other potentially more valuable uses for biomass.
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On Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:24:03 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

We have massive bulk carriers bringing 'biomass' aka wood pellets from eg Canada to the Tyne for Yorkshire power stations . I wonder whether they carry much more energy than the fuel they use to bring it here?
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On 15/01/15 13:09, Jim S wrote:

Oh they certainly do. That is not the major reason to oppose the technology. Ships are very efficient ways to transport bulk materials.
Look how much coal is carried in bulk carriers from e.g. Australia to China.
In the days of canals a one horsepower horse could easily pull 50 tons of coal.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Isn't the average horse about 1.5hp?
Bill
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On 16/01/15 02:13, Bill Wright wrote:

actually I thought it was a lot less.
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Often wondered about that. When you see two horses pulling a carriage full of people at a fair speed. Would you expect a 2HP electric motor to do the same job?
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 16/01/15 11:39, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

yes
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horsepower
"In 1993, R. D. Stevenson and R. J. Wassersug published an article calculating the upper limit to an animal's power output.[14] The peak power over a few seconds has been measured to be as high as 14.9 hp.[14] However, Stevenson and Wassersug observe that for sustained activity, a work rate of about 1 hp per horse is consistent with agricultural advice from both 19th and 20th century sources.[14]
When considering human-powered equipment, a healthy human can produce about 1.2 hp briefly (see orders of magnitude) and sustain about 0.1 hp indefinitely; trained athletes can manage up to about 2.5 hp briefly[15] and 0.3 hp for a period of several hours."
Chris
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That explains it then. A carriage moving at a sustainable speed wouldn't make for good TV. ;-)

Thanks.
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Strange then that milk floats tend to have approx 10 hp motors.
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On 16/01/15 15:39, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Even stranger that busses can have hundred and coaches can have thousand horsepower motors.
Was there any point at all to your comment?
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wrote:

All traction motors spend little time at max output. Are there no hills where you live? Also they need excess power to accelarate from rest.
How long do you drive round in your car with you pedal to the metal?
Stupid boy.
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