Arundo Donax as a Biofuel and Biomass Resource
Arundo Donax as a Biofuel and Biomass Resource
Date: 2/23/2012 1:05:37 PM ( 31 mon ) ... viewed 1422 times
Yesterday morning, I heard noises outside my window. That land, for many years, I have owned in my head, although it is owned by neighbors who live across a divide on the other side of the canyon.
We seldom talked. About a decade ago, I first saw them. A fire happened here. It was the fault of a guest who I allowed to stay here. A candle overturned outside. The Arundo Donax stand burned, and the fire department came to put out the flames. That event marked a significant shift in the community life here.
A decade later, the threat of fire again has caused an enormous shift.
ARUNDO WRAPUP HERE
BIOMASS QUESTION FOR ARUNDO?
A group wanted to promote Arundo Donax as a Biomass source in Georgia. This was seen as competition for Ethanol, a corn derivative that earns money for Biotech through using needed farm land to grow a corn yield that is unsuitable for human consumption.
This is what happened:
The power in plants: biofuels and the giant cane debate
An Atlanta bio-energy development company has found a way to mass-produce giant cane as a source for alternative fuels. But weed watchers in Florida are worried that the fast-growing grass could also be a dangerous invader.
Arundo donax has also been introduced in Florida, but it is not considered an invader—yet. In 2006, the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council petitioned the State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to add Arundo to the state noxious weed list. The list is updated every two years, so a decision is expected soon.
Doria Gordon, the director of conservation science at the Nature Conservancy in Florida, has helped create an assessment tool for predicting which non-native plants may cause trouble.
Director of Conservation Science, The Nature Conservancy in Florida
“I would support Arundo’s listing as a noxious weed,” she says. “We have the science behind the prediction that would suggest that this would be a prudent decision for the state of Florida.”
ARUNDO IS MOVING AHEAD AT BOARDMAN, OREGON
Arundo is moving ahead in researches as a biofuel and biomass substitute for coal. If these experiments continue to be successful, This may be a choice for San Diego as well where the plants grows and can grow. My concern that it needs to be tests for air quality impact.
When torrified, or roasted, Arundo donax very much resembles coal and can be stockpiled indefinately. That is of great interest to PGE, which has agreed to stop burning coal at Boardman by 2020.
At peak production, the Boardman coal plant meets about 15 percent of Oregon’s electrical demand. Unlike wind or solar power, coal-fired electricity is “baseload” — can be produced at will and without variation — an option PGE would like to keep in its quiver by converting the plant to biomass.
“A conversion to biomass has many hurdles. It would be the first plant of its kind in the United States. But we feel it’s worth the effort to explore whether it can be done in such a way that is both beneficial to our customers and that serves as a positive leadership example in the development of alternative energies,” said Steve Corson, PGE spokesman.
PGE is contracting with Boardman and Hermiston farmers for a multi-year trial that would ideally culminate with a test-burn at the coal plant in 2014. Why the wait? Arundo donax requires three years to become fully productive.
The environmental math is fairly simple. Replace non-renewable coal being shipped in from Powder River, Wyo., with locally grown biomass.
THE QUESTION OF BURNING ARUNDO IS ADDRESSED HERE
I have some concern about its toxicity if burned.
Q: The reason PGE is shutting down the plant by 2020 is due to air pollution. Is PGE planning to do an analysis of air pollution resulting from burning Arundo? Also, the rate of spread of Arundo varies widely by County.
A: Wayne Lei—The devices in place to remove pollutants from coal would also work on the Arundo discharge. But we need to do the test burn to know.
A: Shawna Bautista—An air quality specialist on our staff noted that particulate matter from Arundo is more than twice than coal (this is an estimate with assumptions).
BOARDMAN AIR EMISSION STUDIES
The Boardman Power Plant is a 585-megawatt coal-fired electricity generating plant in northeastern Oregon. It is one of PGE’s most cost-effective sources of power, producing electricity at a variable cost of about one-third to one-half the wholesale market price. Boardman provides about 15 percent of the power PGE delivers to its customers, making it a key resource in meeting Oregonians’ current and future energy needs.
Tweeter feed PGE
MONSANTO TIE IN
Monsanto would not welcome Arundo as a biofuel. it is competion for
biltech products such as etrhanol.
February 23, 2012
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