November 30, 2007

#3 Bioenergy Can... Remediate Ecological Disasters

There are biomass waste streams throughout the world that could provide the feedstock for future biomass conversion to biofuels. These waste streams are creating some of the most acute environmental problems afflicting society -
Excess biomass in forests – forest density that is 4 to 10 times historic norms – creates conditions that exacerbate droughts leading to forest fires and bug infestations
Excess biomass in urban areas - municipal solid wastes – is getting out of control necessitating bigger landfills that are further away from our urban centers. This excess waste contributes to land, water, and air pollution
• Rural agricultural residues and damaged crops could have a higher value as soil amendments and biomass feedstock.

Add to this list the steadily growing millions of tons of disaster debris from floods, hurricanes, wildfires, etc. that require cleanup. This has become the focus of a federal interdepartmental initiative called the Woody Biomass Utilization Group coordinated by the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Interior.

To restore forests to a healthy condition, the Forest Foundation recommends a three step, economically sustainable solution that involves private industry who would restore and maintain forest stewardship as part of their operating overhead.
1. First they would be contracted to harvest and sell decaying biomass to pay for forest management
2. Then reforest to a historic model specific to the forest, and
3. They could then mechanically thin vulnerable forests of woody biomass to prevent pronounced exposure to new fires and infestations.

The Forest Service would provide regulatory oversight of the program.

We need to be better stewards of our natural resources. Biomass conversion from waste to energy is a win win that can help to fund proper stewardship. It is clear that government funding without private enterprise will never be sufficient for the task.

This article is the third in a series of five about the unique capabilities of bioenergy.

On November 28th I made a presentation at the Capitol Hill Club to the Biomass Coordinating Council (BCC) of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) titled "BioEnergy Can Do." My aim was to list what I considered to be the top five unique capabilities of bioenergy that should drive legislative action on Capitol Hill. The five capabilities are:
1. Bioenergy can convert solar energy into liquid fuel.
2. Bioenergy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Bioenergy can remediate ecological disasters.
4. Bioenergy can revive depressed economies.
5. Bioenergy can expand energy freedom of choice.


technorati , , ,

No comments: