Woody Biomass Utilization Technologies: What is real now?

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1 Forest Guild 2010 National Meeting, Lake Tahoe, June Technologies: What is real now? Gareth J Mayhead University of California Berkeley In partnership with: USDA Forest Service Region 5

2 Overview of today Purpose: Look at some alternatives for woody biomass utilization based on challenges and opportunities that will work today Outline: Logic of utilization Key criteria Some technologies to consider

3 Overview: Value chain considerations Resource : quality, price, availability Transport: mode, distance, terrain Process Product (technology) Transport Market

4 Woody biomass in California

5 Key criteria: Raw material form is important Every process has a raw material specification

6 Value helps to move residuals Slash $ Pulp log $$ Slash $ Saw log $$$$ Slash $ Pulp log $$

7 Processing small logs More logs to process for same output Higher transportation costs More handling in mill Less valuable products Defects have a greater impact (knots, juvenile wood etc) Efficiency is very important Speed and volume Eg: 6 vs 10 diameter

8 It behaves badly

9 Post and Pole Low tech Low investment (~$750k) 10-20,000 tons/yr Need to treat poles

10 Breaking wood down into particles minimizes the impact of defects (knots, juvenile wood, insect galleries etc.)

11 Creating uniformity Plywood Densified Paper Engineered lumber OSB Fiber-Plastic Composites MDF/Particleboard

12 Leverage existing industry Existing infrastructure is an important opportunity: Contractors Primary processing (sawmills, veneer etc) Powerplants Panelboard Pulp What do they pay? Feedstock specification? Opportunity to adapt to changing feedstock? Infrastructure is difficult to bring back when it is gone it is gone

13 Scale Scale of markets vs biomass availability Bulk (100,000+ ton/yr) A monster to feed? Long term (~10+ years) supply commitments required Small-medium markets (<60,000 ton/yr) Less risk Less controversial Socially acceptable

14 Technology Wood technology can do almost anything There are many existing proven technologies Even more emerging technologies Carry out due diligence Silver bullets do not exist

15 Key questions to ask for any technology Is the technology commercially deployed (proven)? What is the feedstock specification? What are the markets for the output products? Do the economics work? Is the process a net energy user? Permitting requirements? Do not rely on technology vendors for balanced information carry out due diligence

16 Technologies and products that make sense Chips, shavings and bark Energy 1. Heat 2. Electricity 3. Pellets

17 Woodchip and bark Hog fuel Landscaping products (bark, mulches, compost etc)

18 Animal bedding Animal bedding (shavings ~$1m) Chunk chip (cattle corrals ~$60k)

19 Bio-filtration Ground wood as an air filter

20 Heating systems Can be cheaper than alternatives it is easy to calculate simple payback 75%+ efficient Local market Opportunities for public buildings (10,000 sq ft to 1m+ sq ft) Air quality permitting can be an issue Long payback period may be a problem (5-15+ yrs) $ per MMBtu $45 $40 $35 $30 $25 $20 $15 $10 $5 $0 Heating Fuel Cost Comparison (Av National Prices) Wood Chips Wood Pellets Natural Gas Fuel Type Electricity Propane Heating Oil Source: US DOE Energy Information Administration, Sept 08

21 Heating - cordwood

22 Heating chip based

23 Biomass power 20 MW plant provides electricity to 15-20,000 homes New plant construction cost = $50-60m+ Processes 160,000 tons/yr (1BDT/MW/hour burn rate) Biomass transported up to 50 miles Delivered biomass valued at $15 60/BDT Average production cost ~ $0.07- $0.10/kWh Installed cost $1700-$3500 per kw 20-30% efficient (60% + CHP)


25 Smaller scale electrical generation 5 kw-3 MW Emerging technologies such as gasification Costs $5,000-10,000/kWh installed (may make sense for off-grid areas) Operations and maintenance (who will do this?) Reliability Fuel specification (can be very specific) Is the technology proven?

26 Small scale combined heat and power (CHP) NNCC 1MW steam cycle

27 Gasification - Fluidyne Pacific Class Heat (1 MMBTU) and/or electricity Raw material Wood chunks

28 Densified Wood Products Firelogs Fuel Pellets

29 Example: 40,000 ton/yr pellet facility 100 BDT/day $5.5-$7m build cost 24/7 operation 3-5 acre site jobs

30 Summary Many utilization technologies exist Some are proven Many are not If a technology sounds too good to be true it usually is Each situation is unique Investigate and understand your options Find your niche

31 Thank you Help with: Grants Technology Markets Networks Healthy skepticism