EIA: biomass no. 2 in waste fuel use by manufacturers

By Anna Simet | November 08, 2013

Waste fuels are a significant source of fuel for U.S. manufacturers, accounting for 29 percent of fuel use in 2010, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA defines waste fuels as “usually byproducts of onsite production processes; most have little to no economic value and are generally not able to be economically transported.”

Although waste gas primarily derived from petroleum and coal products is the largest class of waste fuels used, the second largest class of waste fuel is biomass products, mainly used in the paper and wood products industries.  According to EIA data, the paper industry uses black liquor, a byproduct of the papermaking process, for 58 percent of its fuel use. The black liquor is burned to provide process heat, refined to be reused as pulping liquor, or used for combined heat and power. Nearly 3,900 MW of black liquor-fired CHP capacity was in service in 2012, the report said.

Agriculture waste, mill residue and wood waste accounted for 33 percent of waste fuels used in manufacturing.

The EIA report points out that waste oils and tars, waste paper, and anything else that can be used to provide heat and power in an industrial facility are waste fuels, but because of inconsistency in quality and heat content of waste products, only a certain amount may be used for fuel. For example, in a cement kiln’s heat output, only 10 to 30 percent of fuel used may be waste products.