Interest in Biomass is Heating Up
As a Midwesterner and a proponent of biomass thermal energy, I was happy to see that a group of Minnesotans is organizing a Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass Summit (see http://www.biomassmagazine.com/articles/5265/heating-the-midwest-summit-planned-in-minnesota).
The organizers got the idea to hold a summit in the Midwest from the Heating the Northeast wtih Renewable Biomass vision, which organizes annual conferences and advocates that 25 percent of all thermal energy requirements in the Northeast be met with renewable energy resources by 2025.
According to data gathered by Chuck Hartley, director of energy management services for LHB Inc. in Duluth, Minn., if the Midwest were to adopt the Heating the Northeast Vision of producing 25 percent of residential heating from renewables, 75 percent of which would be from biomass, then:
- About 176 trillion Btu of the 940 trillion Btu used for residential heating in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota would come from biomass
- If all that were pellets, the region would be producing about 10 million tons per year
- That’s the equivalent of about 1.26 billion gallons of fuel oil or 1.9 billion gallons of propane
- CO2 emissions would decrease by about 13 million tons per year
Joining the Midwest and the Northeast in their efforts, Alaska is also taking a serious look at biomass heating. The 2011 Alaska Wood Energy Conference: Making Wood Work—Local Energy Solutions is being held April 25-27 at the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The conference is a collaborative effort led by the Alaska Energy Authority and will include a tour of Superior Pellet Fuels facility and K&K Recycling. According to a letter from Michael C. Harper, acting executive director of the Alaska Energy Authority, the state legislature has already kick-started its biomass efforts by awarding more than $16 million to 21 biomass design and construction projects to date through its Renewable Energy Fund.
For more information about this conference, go to http://www.akenergyauthority.org/biomassakwoodenergyconf.html.