Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply

Technical Considerations

by David S. Ortiz, Aimee E. Curtright, Constantine Samaras, Aviva Litovitz, Nicholas Burger

Download

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback186 pages $38.50 $30.80 20% Web Discount

Abstract

In light of potential regulatory limits on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, requirements for greater use of renewable fuels, and higher prices for some conventional fossil resources, over the course of the next few decades, biomass is expected to become an increasingly important source of electricity, heat, and liquid fuel. One near-term option for using biomass to generate electricity is to cofire biomass in coal-fired electricity plants. Doing so allows such plants to reduce GHG emissions and, in appropriate regulatory environments, to generate renewable-energy credits to recover costs. This report focuses on two aspects of biomass use: plant-site modifications, changes in operations, and costs associated with cofiring biomass; and the logistical issues associated with delivering biomass to the plant. The authors find that the main challenge is maintaining a consistent fuel supply; technical and regulatory factors can drive the decision to cofire; cofiring can increase costs, decrease revenue, and reduce GHG emissions; densification does not reduce plant costs but can reduce transportation costs, however current markets cannot support use of densified fuels.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Cofiring Experience in the United States

  • Chapter Three

    Plant-Site Costs of Cofiring

  • Chapter Four

    Near-Term Potential Demand for Biomass for Cofiring Applications

  • Chapter Five

    Logistical Considerations

  • Chapter Six

    Reductions in Life-Cycle Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Cofiring with Biomass

  • Chapter Seven

    Factors Influencing the Development of Biomass Markets

  • Chapter Eight

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Additional Details from Facility Interviews

  • Appendix B

    Supporting Information for Plant-Site Costs of Cofiring

  • Appendix C

    State Summaries of Biomass Use and Potential Demand

  • Appendix D

    Logistics Analysis Documentation

  • Appendix E

    Calculation of Net Greenhouse-Gas Emissions from Biomass Cofiring

This research was sponsored by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and was conducted in the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.