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View Diary: Sunday Train: Unleashing the Political Power of Bio-Coal (128 comments)

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  •  First, your model of carbon flow is suspect (2+ / 0-)
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    caul, 6412093

    because large trees have the bulk of their biomass above ground and not below ground.   As a result saying that you're going to get 7 tons of carbon sequestration from roots in the soil when you're burning off 5 tons of top growth is counter-intuitive.

    Next, any evaluation of your bio-fuel system has to address the emissions associated with such fuel preparation....which are both greenhouse gas emissions, toxicants, hazardous air pollutants and volatile organic compounds.

    Since our global warming problem from the standpoint of atmospheric temperatures and radiative forcing is an artifact only of the total carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere [intergrated along with other non-CO2 greenhouse gas species present), any other consideration or policy inquiry that attempts to consider that CO2 emissions from biomass combustion is somehow to be considered benign or harmless....isn't a valid exercise in greenhouse gas air pollution control and management.....certainly U.S. EPA would not agree that biomass CO2 emissions can somehow be discussed.   EPA certainly does not think that biomass-related methane emissions can discussed.

    The radiative forcing/atmospheric heating process as a matter of infrared adsorption isn't affected at all by expressions of human intentions in carrying out biomass combustion operations.   The physical processes of the atmosphere as they operate only address gas concentrations and not distinctions in the method of carbon oxidation or method of GHG emission and release.

    •  Setting aside your dancing around the issue, ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... this is the statement where you are misrepresenting the argument:

      Since our global warming problem from the standpoint of atmospheric temperatures and radiative forcing is an artifact only of the total carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere [intergrated along with other non-CO2 greenhouse gas species present), any other consideration or policy inquiry that attempts to consider that CO2 emissions from biomass combustion is somehow to be considered benign or harmless....isn't a valid exercise in greenhouse gas air pollution control.
      Its the fact that its the total carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.

      That is what you are trying to distract attention away from with your dancing around the issue: the total carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.

      Now, let us work it through:

      Stage 1: Mineral coal is mined. Carbon removed from the atmosphere: X1=0

      Stage 1: Biocoal feedstock is grown. Carbon removed from the atmosphere: Y1>0.

      Stage 2: Mineral coal is burned. Carbon added to the atmosphere: X2>0

      Stage 2: Biocoal is burned. Carbon added to the atmosphere: Y2>0.

      Now, lets take X2=Y2.

      (X2-X1) = X2 > (Y2-Y1)

      Now, I gather that you have engaged in this discussion previously and have made an emotional investment in not understanding this point, so I don't expect you to understand this point ...

      ... , but whether biocoal is carbon positive, carbon neutral, or carbon negative, the fact remains that all of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by burning the biocoal is recycled from carbon removed from the atmosphere when growing the feedstock.

      The question whether (Y2-Y1) is positive, zero, or negative is entirely decided by the CO2 emitted while producing and transporting the biocoal is more or less than the carbon sequestered by use of biochar as a fertilizer and in roots and microorganisms by the growth coppiced. Indeed, estimating the CO2 emissions during production and transport would allow an appropriate amount of biocoal produced to be set aside as biochar to ensure carbon neutrality.

      But in the end:

      The physical processes of the atmosphere as they operate only address gas concentrations and not distinctions in the method of carbon oxidation or method of GHG emission and release.
      You can pretend all you want that the growth of biomass feedstocks does not remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but it does so.

      You can pretend all you want that it makes no difference whether the carbon that is emitted when burning something came from the atmosphere in the previous five years or a million years ago ...

      ... but it does.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 10:47:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  None of your numerical analysis is valid for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul

        greenhouse gas emission control purposes (and particularly for purposes of EPA/State permitting of new biomass combustors) because you have not demonstrated your point with a common method of analysis reducable to a quantifiable and measurable number....such as the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of heat input...and, in the case of a fuel which must be processed from wood through thermal processing....the amount of heat input required to accomplish that processing which must be added to the heat intensity of the process in question.

        •  The numerical analysis is valid for ... (9+ / 0-)

          ... the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere purposes. Which, as you have said, is the main issue:

          The physical processes of the atmosphere as they operate only address gas concentrations.
          It is a physical fact that the biocoal energy production process results in a lower gas concentration than the mineral coal energy production process, therefore, according to your claim, that is all that matters.

          Also it should also be obvious ~ and I presume is obvious to anyone else reading ~ is that since nothing in this policy involves the construction of new biomass combustors, talking about EPA permitting of new biomass combustors is a red herring to distract from the fact that you can't understand simple stock/flow relationships.

          Again, your argument is physically equivalent to claiming that if I dip a cup into a bowl half full of water, then pour the water back in, and repeat it enough times, the bowl will overflow.

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          by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 11:27:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You said: (0+ / 0-)
            It is a physical fact that the biocoal energy production process results in a lower gas concentration than the mineral coal energy production process, therefore, according to your claim, that is all that matters.
            No such physical facts are depicted or displayed in your diary.   You have not addressed the amount of CO2e emissions per unit of heat input or per unit of electricity generated for your biocoal fuel and for various coals.   Such a quantitative demonstration is the minimum basis for making such claims, assuming we're talking about emissions in tons per year (and not the "lower gas concentration" you are talking about).  
            •  I didn't go into that point in detail in this ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... essay, since of course the essay was already quite long, and that would seem to be rehashing a point already well understood by most people.

              Again:

              Take two large bowls of equal size, each half full of water.

              In bowl one, repeatedly dip a cup into it, then pour the water into the bowl.

              In bowl two, repeatedly place a cup under the sink, and pour the water into the bowl.

              Under your argument, that production and combustion of biomass had identical impact on CO2 gas concentration as production and combustion of mineral coal, both of those bowls will overflow, and at roughly the same time.

              In reality, the first bowl will not overflow, and the second one will.

              Now, regarding side issues regarding CO2 emissions during the process of production and transportation, and entirely ignoring, as you constantly do, the fact that the price support system involves burying biochar in the ground, sequestering the carbon, modify the experiment.

              In bowl one, repeatedly dip a cup into it, and pour it back in. At the same time, pour a teaspoon of water in from the faucet.

              In bowl two, repeatedly pour a cup of water in from the faucet, plus a teaspoon.

              Now, indeed, both bowls will overflow, but the second (mineral coal) will overflow much faster and the first (biocoal) will only require the removal of a teaspoon each time (biochar) to avoid increasing its level at all.

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              by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 30, 2013 at 02:11:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You can, indeed, confirm this by experiment. (6+ / 0-)

      Take two large bowls, and two cups.

      Put 5 cups of water in each.

      Now, in the first, dip a cup into the bowl, pull it out, then pour the water back into the bowl.

      In the second, take a cup of water from the faucet and pour it into the bowl.

      What happens to the total level of water in the first bowl?

      What happens to the total level of water in the second bowl?

      Your argument is that the total amount of water in both bowls steadily increases.

      Which is absurd.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 10:51:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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