aquaplane wrote:I do flammability testing at work and we are getting lots of samples of wood pellets or sunflower/sugar beet pellets or other stuff that is waste from agriculture. They are looking at using it as fuel in coal fired stations, I can't see it being anything more than lip service to being green though, the volumes can't be there.
I agree with Nick that timber production for biomass is not, perhaps, the best renewable energy source. But then, possums, what is? There is no one silver bullet, and the future will be how to efficiently manage dispersed generation, so biomass, in its many forms, will probably be part of the package.
Aquaplane's comment is interesting. More than twenty or so years ago, a cousin of mine was doing something similar in Yorkshire, Donnie as it happens, turning household waste into pellets for (as I recall, but...) a district heating system. Start ups are always costly, but each stage will bring technology benefits. England has a significant current problem with waste disposal, and my simplistic view is that biomass may be part of the solution.
Here's another suggested simplistic solution: timber is a good heat insulator, and quite pleasant as a household building material, so, perhaps, as land values increasingly become more significant than construction costs, timber houses may be a practical solution for CO2 absorption. A lot of housing from the 60s and 70s has already proven to have been disposable and replaceable. Decently joinered timber buildings last much longer than that, and if/when they start to degrade, then biomass them and build a new ones, imho. That should only be necessary, at worst, every 50 or so years or so, and probably much longer in practicality. This recyclable timber trade would help absorp CO2, people get some nice homes, and the hale clamjamfery ends up producing energy when biomassed in a proper cleantech manner. Long term Win-Win imho.
Personally, and while quite happy with my present home, I'd love to live a new well-constructed timber house. I don't know how construction costs would compare with conventional bricks and mortar, but, given the inceasing emphasis on the land value component, I'd be very surprised if the overall costs of timber build would be inordinately different; some prefabricated timber house projects seem to cost in pretty well, as far as I can see.