The Wood Stove Decathlon concluded at the end of November after five days of testing and judging among teams that came from around the world. The goal? "Heat more cleanly, cheaply, and renewably," said John Ackerly, organizer and president of the Alliance for Green Heat.
Tom Childs, of Twin Springs Fruit Farm in Orrtanna, PA, was looking for an alternative method to heat his greenhouses, and the answer came in the form of a new building, a new tractor and a very large boiler equipped with electronic controls.
After several years of planning, visits to other operations with wood chip boiler systems and many meetings with various specialists, their vision came to fruition.
Supercapacitors are power devices very similar to batteries. While batteries rely on chemical reactions to produce sustained electrical energy, supercapacitors collect charged ions on their electrodes (in this case, the biochar), and quickly release those ions during discharge. This allows them to supply energy in short, powerful bursts - during a camera flash, for example, or in response to peak demand on the energy grid.
The forests on the eastern slope of the Cascades in the Wenatchee National Forest pose a problem. They have grown unnaturally dense, choked with small trees and underbrush. What used to be open forest, dominated by big, fire-resistant ponderosa pine, has filled in with Douglas fir and other species after decades of fire suppression and timber harvests. Now, the forests are at high risk for deadly insect infestations and destructive, high intensity wildfires.
The use of woody biomass for power generation, while giving off carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, still produces significant carbon savings with long-term environmental benefits. The wood pellet coalition says it wanted to rebut claims that have found forest-based bioenergy, such as wood pellets, release carbon into the environment faster than growing trees can
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in partnership with the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences will be holding four technical workshops on how to use the web-based Washington State Biomass Calculator—a tool for emerging sustainable energy businesses.
At the newest power plant in Wisconsin, fuel will come from close to home. Unlike coal, which is brought in by train from Wyoming and Appalachia, biomass will be culled from sawmills and forests of northern Wisconsin. The total price tag for the project is $268 million, but a federal grant that is expected to be awarded next year will trim that by about $80 million.
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