Tag Archives: whole trees

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

Dr. William Sammons on Biomass Sustainability and Economics

Here’s an interesting video interview with Dr. William Sammons, the doctor who spoke in Traverse City just before that biomass plant was nixed.
Is it more important to reach the target … or to say we have new information and we need to revise the targets and what qualifies?
He’s talking about potential billions of dollars of health costs from particulates, about “waste” wood (what they say they will burn) vs. whole trees (what they end up burning), and most importantly about sustainability.

Biomass plants don’t have to report their CO2 emissions, so if all the proposed biomass plants get built we’re talking about as much as 800 million tons of CO2 from biomass plants by 2020, 12 to 14% of total CO2 emissions for the U.S. (not just power emissions: total national emissions). Trees don’t grow fast enough to suck all that back out of the air in ten years. Continue reading

Whole trees as biomass?

Previously I promised to come back to the subject of whole trees. Allan Ricketts asserted in the VLCIA meeting with concerned citizens on 10 June 2010 that the biomass plant Wiregrass LLC proposed for Valdosta will never burn whole trees because it would be economically unfeasible for it to do so. While I have no doubt that Col. Ricketts is acting on the best information given to him, there are reasons to be sceptical about what will happen in the future. Continue reading