Tag Archives: safe

Video of Biomass Air Quality Hearing, Valdosta, 27 April 2010

A video of a hearing about the biomass plant Wiregrass Power LLC proposes to build in Lowndes County just outside of Valdosta was held in Valdosta on 27 April 2010 by the Air Protection Branch (APD) of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Eric Cornwell of APD explains location, process flow, and specific items covered by the permit (soot, SO2, NOX, CO, VOC, HCL, etc., but not CO2). He remarks that Wiregrass Power LLC is building a small plant with a “lower emission limit in order to avoid some of the red tape” by getting a minor permit instead of a major permit. The first half hour concludes with Bob Turner, the plant manager, presenting similar material, ending with:

“No new carbon is added to the atmosphere when burning woody byproducts.”
I beg to differ on that: in the time it takes trees to grow back, there is indeed new carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. More from Dr. William Sammons on that.

Back to the video of the hearing. Questions start at 00:29:44. Here are some time markers and very brief summaries of Q and A; see the video for the full questions and answers. Continue reading

Biomass: Twice the CO2 of Coal?

Dr. Thomas D. Bussing, Ph.D., former mayor of Gainesville, Florida, is among the numerous signatories of a Letter to the U.S. Senate from Environmental Groups (including SAFE) Regarding Biomass, which says in part:
When compared to coal, per megawatt, this burning [biomass and the like] emits 1.5 times the carbon dioxide (CO2), 1.5 times the carbon monoxide (CO, a toxic air pollutant), and as much particulate matter.
Georgia already has the country’s dirtiest coal plant, at Juliette, near Macon. Do we need still more CO2?

Maybe the Wiregrass biomass plant planned for Valdosta is somehow more efficient than the one near Gainesville. If so, it would be good to hear about that; I don’t recall the topic coming up at the Lowndes County Commission meeting in which this plant was approved.

Dr. Bussing elaborated in a recent letter:

The fallacy is in believing that plants take up all CO2 emissions. In fact plants absorb some, the ocean absorbs more (and as a consequence is becoming more acidic by the year), but a portion just stays and builds up in the atmosphere. That buildup is associated with global warming, and it doesn’t matter if the CO2 comes from coal, gas or biomass.
Thanks to Seth R. Gunning for bringing this up.