The conversion from coal to biomass power is a growing trend in the United States.
The U.S. and Canadian governments both support an increased role for energy derived from biomass, which are organic materials available on a renewable basis and include residues and/or byproducts of the logging, sawmilling and papermaking processes. In particular, they view it as a way to lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing consumption of oil and gas while supporting the growth of forestry, agriculture and rural economies. Studies by the U.S. government have found the country’s combined forest and agriculture land resources have the power to sustainably supply more than one-third of its current petroleum consumption.
Three potentially large sources of forest biomass currently not being used in abundance are harvesting residues, particularly those left at the roadside, thinning treatments done in conjunction with efforts to reduce forest fire hazards (mostly in the U.S.), and salvage and recovery of beetle-killed timber (mostly in Canada).
Biomass is already an important source of energy for the North American forest products industry. It is common for companies to have cogeneration facilities, also known as combined heat and power, which convert some of the biomass that results from wood and paper manufacturing to electrical and thermal energy in the form of steam. The electricity is used to, among other things, dry lumber and supply heat to the dryers used in paper-making.
Read more about this topic: Lumber
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