A Comparative Analysis between the EU and the United States of the Feasibility of Co-Firing Woody Biomass in Existing Coal Fired Power Plants from a Technical, Economic and Policy Perspective

Title

A Comparative Analysis between the EU and the United States of the Feasibility of Co-Firing Woody Biomass in Existing Coal Fired Power Plants from a Technical, Economic and Policy Perspective

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Research Question

Pine and woody biomass is a vast resource available around the world that, if managed sustainably and responsibly, has the potential to serve as a fuel for energy applications. Various species of bark beetle, including the European spruce bark beetle and the North American mountain pine beetle, have devastated forests worldwide, leading to significant amounts of dead standing woody biomass that is a potential fuel. Burning biomass with coal in existing plants is attractive because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, utilizes existing infrastructure and is a well-developed technology. The economic and political climates around the world greatly influence the likelihood of using biomass for electricity generation. What policies are in place in the EU and the United States that potentially encourage the use of biomass for co-firing applications? Have these policies been effective? What can the United States learn from the countries in Europe that have a significant number of co-firing plants already in place to increase the use of this technology and biomass resource here?

Significance

The United States has the potential to learn from the example of the EU to utilize our significant biomass resources to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power generation sector. Is it possible for the policies in place in Europe to be implemented in the United States and also be effective? What differences in economics, policies and resource availability between the two areas affect the potential for use of biomass in co-firing applications?

Publication Date

2015

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Disciplines

Mechanical Engineering

A Comparative Analysis between the EU and the United States of the Feasibility of Co-Firing Woody Biomass in Existing Coal Fired Power Plants from a Technical, Economic and Policy Perspective

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