Conference panel examines biomass emissions mitigation

By Anna Austin | November 18, 2010

Meeting existing and pending emissions and air quality control requirements may prove to be a challenge to biomass electricity producers. At BBI International’s second annual Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show on Jan. 10-12 in Seattle, hear industry experts discuss some emissions reduction solutions and strategies during the panel Forest To Facility: Biomass Emissions Quantification and Control.

 “Federal regulations continue to become stricter on power generating facilities, including those fueled by biomass,” said panelist Curtis Schaaf, Riley Power Inc. boiler design engineer. “Advancements in combustion and environmental control technology, however, can keep biomass a competitive resource on a utility-grade scale. Modern firing techniques combined with the latest emissions control equipment allow the industry to continue operating with minimal economical and environmental impacts,”

 Schaaf’s presentation will highlight significant improvements made in stoker-fired biomass technology, as well as the latest environmental control technology available for new and existing biomass facilities.

Tad Mason, CEO of TSS Consultants, will discuss net air emissions reductions as a result of diverting forest biomass to an existing biomass facility, rather than open pile burning as a means of forest management, hazardous fuels reduction and managing agricultural residues, a common practice in the Pacific Northwest.

Mason will present detailed findings of actual costs associated with collection, processing and transport of forest slash, using results of a demonstration project that involved the grinding and 60 mile one-way transport of 6,720 bone dry tons of mixed conifer forest slash in the Sierra Nevada foothills for use at a biomass power cogeneration facility, compared to the traditional open pile burning method of forest harvest slash disposal.

The presentation will provide data that is counter to recent public opinion that biomass power generates significant amounts of air emissions and should not be considered as a carbon neutral power source, according to Mason.

Panelist Paul Beauchemin, partner at Envirochem Services, will focus on emissions and controls for biomass combustors and dryers, discussing results from studies completed by Envirochem on the nature and management of the environmental impacts associated with biomass. Outcomes of the research to be presented include the size of the industry, current industry trends and emerging combustion and emission control limits and technologies.

Beauchemin will also review various biomass feedstocks, combustion and control processes and technologies including gasification, co-firing, and pellet mill dryers.

A fourth speaker and moderator for this panel will soon be announced. To learn more about the Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show, click here.