Insanity of wood chip processing and transport


Wood chip for biomass. It takes energy to get to this point. More to pelletise it. More still to transport it. Then we burn it and produce Carbon dioxide. Who is kidding who?

Bill Butterworth 2 October 15

The UK is exporting wood chip for biomass heat and power generation. It is a form of insanity for one very simple reason; it would be much more environmentally less damaging to use the diesel burned in preparing and transporting the chip to just burn it in a diesel driving a generator. We use less diesel for the same power output in many, maybe most, biomass situations.

Common sense tells us that if we have a high bilk, low energy density material like wood, then the last thing we need to do is spend a lot of energy processing and transporting it.  Chipping takes a lot of power. Pelleting takes a lot more.  Trucks transporting chip probably don’t do much more than 5 or 7 miles to the gallon.

Where does this lead us?  Well, there are some hints that the current government in the UK is minded to support and encourage local power generation. Maybe this is a good idea.  When I was a kid, every town had its own gasworks. Now we have the technology, maybe micro-generators and DC (rather than AC) power is the way to go.