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Author Topic: Biomass boilers (more coming)  (Read 5651 times)

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Offline Kansas

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2009, 06:49:06 am »
It seems to me the best way to use ERC and wood waste from municipal dumps, cull logs, pallet recyclers, etc. would be to have smaller biofuel generating facilities that would use the wood source from a smaller radius, say 40 miles or so. An operation that wouldn't require the wood to be pelleted, just ground. The Frito-Lay potato chip plant in Kansas is planning on doing that.They are already starting to stockpile wood waste from the city of Topeka. As mentioned earlier, the downside is that those logs won't be available for cutting into lumber. I recently received a call from a guy that cuts lumber from logs he gets there, and he is worried about log supply.
 I keep getting calls from engineering firms out of Kansas City doing feasibility studies on putting in biofuel plants for companies around there, looking for fuel sources. I'm about 90 miles from KC. That seems like its just too far to make work.

The company I referred to actually ships some of their pellets to Europe. I guess those people are already doing the carbon credit thing and they don't have wind or other sources to use as offsetting carbon credits.  I can't quite see the enviromental advantage of making pellets in western Kansas and shipping them to Europe to burn for fuel. Math must have changed since I was in school. They also are putting in equipment that will make a product that can be burned in lieu of coal at power plants.

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2009, 07:57:36 am »
If you can get your material on a barge or in a shipping container on a ship, then shipping costs are relativley small.  A lot of pellets made in the US is heading east.

I agree, Kansas,  why pelletize if ground or chipped wood will work as fuel.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline TwinCut

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2009, 09:06:51 am »
I think you guys are right on the mark on this one. Moving this "Fuel" all over the country, never mind the world is crazy! It might make some weird sense now, but what happens when fuel prices go up again. The real trick to all of this is small and local. I think the 40 mile rule is about right. That means the power or heat generating plant needs to be small. What's wrong with that? When the day come that there is no more fuel for a small operation in a local area, move it. Try doing that with a $50 million outfit.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2009, 10:59:42 am »
You guys forget that Europe is paying a lot more for fuel than in the US and more than Canada does to. I still can't figure the pricing out when we are shipping it out as fast as it can be refined. $US dollar be darned, should be a break in price if your net is to export what your producing. Supply and demand I thought was suppose to work. I know it's global market, but it sure ain't a fair trade.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline Gary_C

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2009, 11:41:45 am »
The transportation issues will certainly be factored in to the availability, but in the words of one marketing expert, there are a lot of facilities being planned right now with "unrealistic expectations" of what they will have to pay for biomass. Some of the earliest ones were getting free stuff but that has already ended. Now some around here are planning for $25 per ton delivered and that is just not going to work. That price leaves little or nothing for the landowner and barely enough for the processing and trucking. In fact most large loggers that have chippers have already refused to supply chips at that price but it is top secret what they have negotiated.

Would you like to buy a $100,000 chipper that drinks 40 gallons of fuel an hour to supply biomass at $25 per ton?

Perhaps you would if the FSA was kicking in $45 per ton but how long will that taxpayer funded marketing disruption last?

This is one reason that low grade timber sales are bringing so much right now. The big guys with chippers are stocking up for the government (taxpayer) gifts of up to $45 per ton additional over and above the pay price they have negotiated.
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Offline Stan snider

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2009, 03:41:31 pm »
SD the world price of oil is still in dollars and the price of energy in Europe is near the same as ours but the energy delivery system is being used as a conduit for tax collections. It's government hijacking. Europeans like big government so much that  they are becoming Europeons. . . .  Oooops I just remembered the election of '08.  Stan

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2009, 04:01:33 pm »
You guys have roads, infrastructure and a lot of military investment to pay for, social security, pensions, unemployment insurance, health care to some degree, subsidized agriculture. Taxation has to pay for those to. But, you do have a lot larger debt per man, woman and child. That costs to, and it keeps adding up.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Offline 240b

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2009, 02:51:24 pm »
Will the purchasers of chips, etc.  just lower their price per ton delivered and let the feds pick up the slack?  Right now bole wood for schools and state buildings is fetching the same price as processor quailty firewood on my landing. It's amazing what you can sell when somebody needs it. Sold 98 tons of limb wood (size of you arm) the other day, and the guy was greatful to get it. Biomass markets in this area have allowed for better managment of resources. 

Offline beenthere

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2009, 03:48:24 pm »
240b
"....in this area..."

Where are you located (nothing in the bio) and what type wood are you talking about?
south central Wisconsin
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Offline 240b

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2009, 04:19:11 pm »
central VT   northern hardwood (mostly sugar maple)

Offline tughill

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2009, 04:51:22 pm »
So what size is your arm?  I mean what size wood are they buying, and how much are they paying? By the cord, by the ton, by triaxle load, by tractor trailer load, inquiring minds want to know?  The price of firewood seems to vary a lot, although I imagine up in VT that translates to good $$.  Here in upstate NY I think firewood is probably cheaper.

There is a biomass plant/electric powerplant up the road from me, that used to be the power plant for the local paper mill (now defunct).  I'm not sure what they pay, but I'm told it isn't much, and I don't think they even buy round wood, just chips.  I'll try to get some more concrete info.  The local wood pellet plant doesn't buy round wood, at least as of my last inquiry a couple months ago, but they but sawdust and shavings from other wood manufacturing plants, which are getting scarce, so maybe they will start buying round wood soon.

So around here biomass has kept the price of low grade wood above zero, but not much above zero.  No clear cuts seen so far, don't expect any either.

Trains and ships can carry a lot of biomass fuel, for a small per unit $$, although electric power lines carry the output of that fuel cheaper.  Power plants operate on economy of scale though, much cheaper to put in 1000 megawatt plant then 100 megawatt, and cheaper to put in 100 megawatt than 10 megawatt, on a per unit cost.  Also larger power plants are more efficient in many ways.

In any case, I'd rather buy electricity from a biomass plant than fossil fuel.

I understand Ironwoods concerns, but personally I think it's great that the vast majority of tree service residue will go to reducing our dependance on fossil fuel instead of into filling a landfill somewhere.
"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not."- Thomas Jefferson
Local Farmer here won 10$ million in the lottery, when asked what he was going to do with his winnings, responded, "Keep on farming until that's all gone too."

Offline 240b

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2009, 06:05:57 pm »
By limb wood I  mean stuff 5-6" in dia w/ brush taken off 16-20' long, fits on a triaxle truck it is bought by the ton.  Many of the schools around have wood chip fired boilers for heat, along with some state office buildings.   Chips for these systems have to be pretty uniform, so they are made from round wood (no brush).  Chips for the power plants (electric power) are made from the "whole tree" and are uniform but contain needles, leaves and long snipes. I think the handling systems are the achilles heel of the various systems the way I understand it.  So, the whole tree chips are the cheapest for me, followed be bole wood (school wood), then uniform processor wood  and finally sawlogs. The whole trees chips can be any hardwood or softwood. School wood is maple, birch, ash for the guy I sell to. I understand one producer has started to screen them for an even better product.  More and more loggers are begining to have there own chippers so things are becoming more competive.  For me I've choosen to sub out any mechanical work when I have it and keep the better jobs for myself. Better to make a few dollars per ton/cord and let somebody else have the big headaches. When to state of Vt licensed the two power producing plants part of the agreement was to have a staff of foresters to approve the silvicultural treatments and make sure the water quailty standards are being met. Plus the state has a heavy cut law no cutting below the c-line without a permit. So we have a good markets for low grade products and the hills are not denuded. 

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #32 on: December 16, 2009, 05:46:24 am »
Biomass in PA has had to run into a lot of roadblocks to make things economical.  The biggest problem is that we have too many other forms of energy to compete with that make the economics impractical, at the present time.  We have coal, coal residue (a lot of them are being used), hydro, nuclear, and all that natural gas that they are starting to drill for.  Then you have the governor pushing wind energy.  We are a net producer of electricity.

Biomass as an energy source just can't compete, especially with coal.  You need to have a secondary user of steam to get the profits.  Electric companies keep the cost of production down to keep away all those other pesky independent producers.  Especially in western PA.

Biomass can work as a stand alone project if you are producing electric for a captive buyer.  An industrial park can make it work.  But, you better have a good source of material. 

If they really wanted an energy source, all they would have to do is burn all that garbage from NY and NJ that they haul into PA every day and dump in our landfills.  Talk about moving material hundreds of miles.  As long as they have roads, there will be truckers to haul it. 

A lot of these projects are talk.  They announce they are going to do it to promote their company and the project.  Then, when they try to make the economics work and bring it together, it falls apart.  I helped put one together a good number of years ago.  It takes about 5 years to get it going.  Getting long term contracts for input material is always a problem.  You're talking a stream of 10,000 tons per megawatt (if memory serves me) every year.  Any disruption in material will result in downtime and loss of income. 
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2009, 07:20:12 am »
We have nuclear, natural gas, petroleum out the ying yang and coal as well all within NB. The Minto area has been mining coal since 1635, it was closed up because they lost the local customer. That customer was NB Power, announced it was shutting down one of the most modern coal generating plants in the country and an older one in Dalhousie. The little city of Dalhousie is just about a ghost town, if it weren't for the few hanging onto the past. They aren't shipping coal out of Minto and they even have a rail service by the door step.

A lot has to do with not upsetting those old dinosaurs and the politicing.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline tughill

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2009, 07:29:52 am »
240B- what the heck is the 'c line'?  I'm still curious about what the pay price per ton is on this wood, and how it compares to selling firewood logs.  I can buy log length firewood here for about 500$ a large triaxle load (delivered), although even in this area that's the low end and a lot of guys are up in the 8-900$ range.

I completely agree with Ron, the trash from everywhere should be burned for energy, especially large producers like NYC/NJ.  What a waste of fuel to truck this stuff all over, and spoil the good places that are left in the northeast with landfills.

Ultimately wood biomass power generation is manpower and fuel intensive, compared to something like coal, where you just get a giant dozer, knock the top off of a hill somewhere and find hundreds of thousands of tons of coal which can be turned into massive amounts of power with a few men and some giant machinery.  Also, quite a bit of the energy in wood biomass ultimately ends up being used, in one way or another to cook the moisture out of the wood fuel itself, which decreases overall efficiency.  Hydropower costs nearly nothing to run, once the initial capital costs (construction costs) are taken care of, wind turbines are the same.

I think it would be pretty interesting if someone could build a power plant that could burn trash and woody biomass, so if you had a shortage of wood at the time, just dump the old garbage truck in there.
"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not."- Thomas Jefferson
Local Farmer here won 10$ million in the lottery, when asked what he was going to do with his winnings, responded, "Keep on farming until that's all gone too."

Offline 240b

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2009, 08:37:59 am »
If you look at a stocking guide for various timber timber types the c-line is the minium basal area for a stand to produce tree of a certain quailty. I bet one of the foresters  here could explain it better. A tri axle load of wood is 900-1000+ delivered. The price I receive for chips is between me and my buyer.   There are trash burning power plants in this country which produce electric power.   We don't have coal here, hydo is limited, most people here want to shut down the nuke plant. Wind is a pretty hot button topic. Some of the bigger landfills here are burning the methane now.The two plants here are Burlington electric and ryegate power station. The small school plants are becoming very popular.  I believe there made by Messersimth (Sp?). I don't believe any one has ever run out of wood to burn.   State/School contracts have a back up supplier which will come though (@ a price).  I can't remember the amount of oil it takes to produce a ton of chips but its not as much as you'd think. You just can't be trucking them hundreds of miles. As always to boils down to politics.  I just feel lucky to be able have a market that appears stable, for low grade products.   Of course that could change tomorrow.

Offline Ironwood

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Re: Biomass boilers (more coming)
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2009, 09:51:43 am »
And my education continues, thanks guys.

 Ironwood
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