The Biofuel myth.

Started Jan 23, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Elizabet Senior Member • Posts: 1,486
The Biofuel myth.

Does biomass pollute? How does this affect health and the environment?

Yes. Biomass Power Stations emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere, and is considered to be as bad as using burning oil and worse than burning gas according to Environmental Protection UK.
These are some of the effects of the pollutants released by biomass combustion on human health:

- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): can affect lung metabolism, structure, function, inflammation and host defence against pulmonary infections

- Carbon monoxide (CO): inhibits the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to vital organs such as the heart and brain.

- Particulates: PM exposure affects the respiratory and cardiovascular systems in children and adults and extends to a number of large, susceptible groups within the general population. There are no safe levels for small particulates PM2.5, meaning that the slightest emissions of PM2.5 from the power station can harm health.

- Sulphur Dioxide: Can result in breathing problems for asthmatic children, and shortness of breath.

- Heavy Metals and Dioxins and Furans: Toxic and carcinogenic to human health. There is nothing in to stop RES from burning chemically treated and thus even more toxic wood, too. However, even ‘clean’ untreated wood can contain high concentrations of heavy metals and burning it can release dioxins and furans.

According to a 2010 report by the UK’s House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, up to 50,000 people a year may already be dying prematurely each year due to exposure to this polluted air.
The previous UK Government commissioned data which showed that the air quality damage in terms of an increase in particulate emissions from biomass could result in the loss of up to 1,175,000 life years in 2020, costing the Government £557 million – just from small particulates.

Pollution of this sort also has a strong impact on the natural environment.

Does biomass produce carbon dioxide? Is it as bad as fossil fuels?

YES, it produces carbon dioxide. Per unit of energy produced, smokestack CO2 emissions from biomass power stations are on average 50% higher than those from coal power stations. This is because wood is less energy dense than coal.

The Government’s own analysis reveals that burning biomass can be worse for greenhouse gas emissions than the fossil fuels they are seeking to replace. This was exposed in a 2012 report from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the RSPB entitled “Dirtier than Coal”.[1]

But isn’t biomass carbon neutral?

Developers like to say that burning biomass is carbon neutral, because the wood burned absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it was growing. But the reality is that because biomass contains carbon, naturally, when it is combusted, it releases all of that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This carbon debt is only paid back if and when a tree or crop is fully grown to replace what was chopped and if soils and other vegetation destroyed or harmed during logging re-absorb all the carbon they had lost. This may take decades and even centuries. What’s more, when forests and other natural ecosystems are too damaged to fully recover or, yet worse, turned into monoculture tree plantations, the carbon emitted in the process will never be re-absorbed. Currently, biomass is also considered to be essentially ‘carbon neutral’ by the UK Government.
The result of this is that developers produce figures which show carbon emissions savings, which are completely overlooking the actual carbon that is release into the atmosphere.

Think about this the next time you read that your nearby power station is going to be biofuel converted.
And then look at the lies they bleat out to "explain" why they are converting.. one of those lies is to be more "carbon neutral" or "lower the carbon footprint".

And then, hopefully, just start to wonder just how much more of the "anthropogenic climate change" story is realy fantasy...

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