About wood burning


Waste disposal facility in Berlin. The german word “Entsorgung” means literally: getting rid of sorrows

John Baez has a new blog post about Europe using wood burning for energy generation. My comment to the blog post is rather detailled and it is also a comment to the currently ongoing debate in Berlin about how to organize its energy supply. This debate was initiated by the socalled Berliner Energietisch (unfortunately not yet in english) so I thought I should maybe post the comment also here.



thanks for the blog post, John.

It is in general not so easy to get a good overview about issues like that.

In fact I was recently getting interested in this issue because there are currently plans for a replacement of the power plant which is in my vicinity and which moves to another place, which is also not so far away and people where concerned that it might be a biomass power plant, which might emit a lot of dust and so I checked.
There is currently at least one power plant in Berlin which runs on biomass:
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holzheizkraftwerk_Berlin-Neukölln/Gropiusstadt
But the newly planned plant is actually a Combined cycle plant. At least thats what the website of the corresponding company says (http://www.vattenfall.de/de/klingenberg/leistungsdaten-des-geplanten-kraftwerks-klingenberg.htm).

So it seems at least there is no overall trend in Europe to replace every plant by a wood plant.

In principle it is of course an important question wether one should burn fossil fuels (here gas), i.e. very long term accumulated solar energy or very inefficient short term solar energy (meant here are the imported pellets, that is burning otherwise unusable waste seems rather sensible). Given it’s population density and northern location I guess it will be very hard to survive in Europe without any energy imports. Projects like Desertec are I think way better especially from a solar efficency viewpoint than pellets, but there are of course political obstacles.

That is german company leaders (like Bosch and Siemens) have to juggle their stakeholders, even if this may appear (in my viewpoint) not very wise in a long term perspective.
Furthermore Russia needs to sell fossil fuels, because it’s economy is rather dependend on that. The US economy by the way too. That is a short look on these great charts displays, if its correct, how the superpowers US and Russia are blasting out their oil and gas fossil fuel reserves. Here you see also that from the European countries it is apart from Russia only Norway who has a considerable gas/oil reserve.

On the other hand countries in northern Africa with a lot of sun are politically rather unstable and there seems not yet much awareness about green energies. Although there are of course initiatives like for example this gogreensyria initiative which seems to be rather new and which seems to be located in north-west Damascus.

One Response to “About wood burning”

  1. Olga Says:

    You are easy to blame Russia for using fossil fuels. I mean there is not so much sun in Russia (and in northern Europe in general) so there is basically only oil and nuclear left. Don’t tell me that you seriously believe that such lightheaded actions like Desertec would work. Just one big arabic uprise and northern Europe would freeze to death.

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