Environmental implications

Table 2.1 Energy use and greenhouse emissions from fuel production24 2.27 Table 2.1 shows the energy use and CO2 equivalent emissions from fuel production, including direct inputs, indirect inputs and resource-related inputs. These have been converted from values per wet tonne to values per oven-dried tonne (odt). Two values for energy use and emissions for straw have been given as a result of the possibility of varying fertiliser input assumptions (paragraph 2.26), which have a large influence...

Availability and costs

2.59 The dispersed nature of forest materials means that they are better suited to small scale CHP or district heating applications. The rural location of most forests makes them ideally placed primarily (but not exclusively) to serve rural communities. There is an opportunity to link biomass energy policy with rural regeneration and fuel poverty strategies. The economic returns on rural schemes may be lower than in urban areas due to the lower heat demand density in rural areas51. 2.60...

A staged approach

1.20 A successful biomass energy strategy requires that by 2050 much of the fuel needed will be grown as energy crops, and this means that potentially significant amounts of agricultural land will need to be diverted to this use. However, in the shorter term there are existing sources of biomass to fuel the development of the sector. We have identified four stages in this process Immediate future - energy crops utilise a relatively small proportion of set-aside land. Short-term - area required...

Potential production

2.39 England has about 2.5 million hectares (Mha) of grades 1 and 2 agricultural land, 6 Mha of grade 3 land and 3 Mha of grades 4 and 5 land. Food production is likely to continue on the best grade 1, 2 and 3 land but a significant amount of land in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be available and suitable for energy crops. Environmental impact assessments may rule out some areas of set-aside and grade 5 land for energy crop production on environmental grounds, or it may just be unsuitable (steep...

Capital and generation costs

4.12 Compared to fossil fuel heating technologies, biomass plant is more capital intensive by a factor of 2 to 3 savings for a project come through cheaper fuel. While there is a significant potential for capital cost reductions, this will require large volumes of sales and a reliable supply chain in the UK. Even with reduced costs due to volume sales, there would still be a capital cost gap between wood heating technologies and current fossil fuel technology. Capital grants are available...

Appendix C Scope And Limitations Of The Special Report

C.1 Compared to other forms of renewable energy, energy from biomass attracts little attention. The number of projects using biomass energy in the UK is far less than that from energy from waste or wind power. The Commission analysed the various forms of renewable energy in its Twenty-second Report 'Energy - The Changing Climate'. This study was commissioned to investigate developments in biomass energy since the Twenty-second Report, exploring the introduction of new technology and the extent...

Heat demand and CHP

3.24 The viability of heat and CHP schemes at larger than domestic scale relies on a market for the heat output, which in effect means that they are tied to a building, a factory or a heat-distribution network. In Scandinavia such networks have been established, and experience there shows that a heat distribution network can extend economically for tens of kilometres and reach tens of thousands of homes and other premises. There are over 600 community heating schemes in the UK, some of which...

Case study Bristol and Avon woodfuel for heat

B.22 Bristol City Council and surrounding local authorities and agencies have been developing strategies for increasing the role of wood fuel in their area. With substantial forestry resources and good opportunities for growing energy crops nearby, there is good potential synergy between political aspirations and biomass fuel resources. B.23 The Bristol City Council Sustainable City Team commissioned a detailed feasibility study into the potential for using local biomass as a source of...

Appendix D Conduct Of The Report

D.1 The Commission announced the special report in August 2003 and called for evidence from a wide range of organisations and individuals. The questions focused on the principal environmental benefits and disbenefits of biomass as a source of heat and power energy the public concerns regarding biomass energy generation, why these concerns arise and how they can be taken account of in the future development of biomass energy generation the level of investment needed in order to introduce...

Sawmill coproducts

2.63 The main demand for forestry materials currently comes from sawmills but these mills produce by-products that could in turn be used as biomass fuel in either their raw state or following processing. Chipboard manufacturers would be in competition with energy companies for sawmill by-products but they also produce by-products that could be employed for energy production. Sawdust can be compressed into wood pellets that can be used in domestic or industrial applications. Pellets have the...

Biomass References

1 Department for Trade and Industry 2003 . UK Energy in Brief. 2 Department for Trade and Industry 2003 . UK Energy in Brief. 3 Department for Trade and Industry 2003 . Energy White Paper Our energy future - creating a low carbon economy. 4 Directive 2003 30 EC. Promotion of the use of biofuels and other renewable fuels for transport. 5 Personal communication, S. Larsson, Agrobransle AB, September 2003. 6 Tucker and Sage 1999 . Integrated Pest Management in sort rotation coppice for energy - a...

Gasification of energy crops ARBRE

3.35 The Arable Biomass Renewable Energy ARBRE plant at Eggborough in South Yorkshire was an example of the kind of process shown in Figure 3-III gasification of the fuel followed by combustion into a gas turbine, with high turbine inlet temperature to maximise the efficiency of conversion to electrical energy. The fuel comprised agricultural residues and SRC willow chips. The plant was designed for electrical output only, with the heat dissipated by water evaporation in cooling towers. Some...

Case study Enkoping use of sewage sludge

B.19 To help meet a Helsinki agreement obligation to reduce nitrogen inputs to the Baltic Sea, the energy company Ena Kraft, which is based in Enkoping in Sweden, is using sewage sludge as a fertiliser for its willow plantations. This is cheaper than usual nitrogen removal processes and has proved so successful that the municipal council has financed additional willow plantations and is processing sewage from private septic plants as well as municipal waste. B.20 By using sewage to irrigate...