In this lesson, we're going to talk about biomass for energy production. As we'll see, there are several different types of biomass that we need to consider to gain a good understanding of this broad category of energy sources. I'd like to introduce the presenter for this lesson, Jeff Arsenych. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who recently founded a startup company, rain forest energy, which plans to economically transform waste biomass into clean fuel. He's just the person to give us an overview of biomass and to talk to us about its benefits and challenges. A Western University MBA graduate, Jeff also taught petroleum economics and Strategy at the Haskell Business School at the University of Calgary for 10 years. With no further ado, here's Jeff. Biomass, wood, and other plant material burned for one of humanity's first steps into energy transition, it allowed us to survive in cold and hostile environments, and it's still used as the primary energy source in many nations and communities, particularly in parts of Asia and Africa. The use of fire started humans on our path to becoming Earth's dominant species. In addition to wood, there are many other types of biomass, such as animal dung, inorganic wastes that still form a significant component of world energy supply today. As indicated in green and the Sankey diagram. The transport sector uses a small portion of biomass for energy production. In some high-income nations, plant material is used to produce liquid fuels and a crude oil substitute. Electric vehicles may source their power from biomass-based renewable sources. Industry uses biomass for materials such as charcoal, and as a feedstock for bio-materials such as bio plastic. Buildings, especially homes, are the largest users of biomass in low and middle-income countries, where it is burned directly for heating and cooking. In high-income nations, biomass as a feedstock for the production of bio methane and renewable natural gas, as well as for power production, for space heating and lighting. The general definition for biomass feedstock is pretty simple. Anything organic derived from plants or animals that is used as a fuel. The material can be burned directly or it can be processed into other forms. There are three generations of biomass feedstock. First, food or other primary use. Second, residue from first generation, and third, which consumes waste and CO_2 to produce energy. Chem third generation biomass be a significant technology in the future. We'll talk about that shortly. Some farms or biomass may pose confusing questions about classification. Corn based ethanol production has a useful byproduct, distiller's dry grain and solubles, or DDGS, which can be used as an animal feed. Using DDGS serves to mitigate the impact of growing corn for biomass on human food supply. Animal tallow from livestock slaughtered is a waste product that can be transformed into biodiesel, perhaps qualifying this as a second generation feedstock. However, tallow has a cooking oil market, which is not an energy application, and complicates the definition. Used cooking oil is also a viable feedstock for biodiesel production, which clearly falls into the second-generation category. There are three established energy technology pathways for the use of biomass feedstock. Using wheat as an example, the grain portion of the crop as a feedstock for biomethanation to produce ethanol for blending into gasoline. There are typically two major co-products in this post-tests, digestate for animal feed and nitrogen for fertilizer. The key issues for this pathway are, one, the competition between food and fuel, which can cause market distortions for both animals and humans, two, the high cost of food inputs, which often have effect on prices, and three, the market saturation of ethanol with a typical 10 percent blend limits to preserve engine warranties, and four, the long-term dependence on market subsidies for viable economics. The stock of a plant, also called straw, is dispersed in the field during a low-yield crop for soil regeneration, except for flux and ham, which do not mix well with the soil. Higher yield crops require straw bailing for removal to avoid interference with spring seating and germination. Straw can be pelletized to be used as an incineration fuel or to produce steam for power generation, with waste heat being captured for additional power generation or other uses. The key issues are one, electricity values are typically much lower than liquid fuels. Two. Air emissions from incineration are our public health concern, and three, the availability of feedstock, animal bedding competition, for example, can vary substantially, requiring higher cost sources from farther afar. These issues also apply for logging residue. The gasification of straw is a proven technology that can produce a synthesis gas for transformation into a variety of liquid fuel production outcomes; gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, LPG, or renewable natural gas to substitute for fossil fuels. The key issues are one. The capital intensity is often very high, which poses financial risks. Two. The contamination of singles can reduce the optimal function of the process. Three. Feedstock is difficult to contract for the long term and Four. The output often requires permanent market subsidies for long-term financial liability. There are new technologies that will transform waste biomass into ethanol or crude oil substitute, but these are still considered early stage and have yet to establish a market presence. Let's look at the practical aspects of building biomass capacity in Alberta. If you want to start a biomass-based venture in Evanston, for example, here are some useful data about feedstock resources availability. According to agricultural Canada's by Matt Atlas, an annual supply of 250,000 dry tons of organic waste is readily available within an 11-kilometer radius. However, it has high separation costs from nine organics and its varied composition will be difficult to process. The same volume of wood waste near Evanston requires a gathering area more than eight times larger for multiple sites. Dale removal and separation costs will also be expensive as is dealing with any embedded toxic chemicals, such as some preservatives, which may contain arsenic hydrocarbons, and other chemicals. Multi-crop strong residue of the same magnitude is located within a 40-kilometer radius. Bailing and trucking costs will be an economic issue as well as competition from ranchers eating animal bedding. Roadside logging slash of the same volume requires a 51,000 square kilometer gathering area with the cost of on-site chipping and trucking, the economic factors, as well as competition from wood pellets operation. The United States is a useful example of biomass consumption in sources and uses. Biomass provided five percent of US energy consumption in 2019. According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which was similar to count as biomass allocation in 2017, as reported by the National Energy Board. This includes liquid fuels from all forms of biomass. Agriculture biomass is dominated by biofuels, which poses food versus fuel issues. Forest biomass is used primarily for electricity production, but there are growing concerns over air emissions from this practice. Wood pellet demand has seen tremendous growth in Japan, Korea, UK, and other regimes, which have provided incentives for biomass to displace coal and nuclear power, however, these overseas markets have high logistical costs and are vulnerable to regulatory changes around emissions accounting. Many of the energy uses for biomass are dependent on permanent government subsidies or market distortions, which created a substantial political risk if subsidies are altered or removed. Just like oil and gas reserves, the availability of biomass is directly dependent on price. Less than us $30 per dry certain, there's no available biomass resource in the United States. At US $75 or more, there are more than one billion short tons available annually. The ability to pay a market price for biomass feedstock will make or break supply. Although fossil fuels originated from biomass, they were created millions of years ago and we're permanently sequestered in geological formations. CO_2 emitted from burning fossil fuels therefore increases overall atmospheric CO_2 concentrations. CO_2 generated from using biomass is recycled into the environment as plant food. As new plants grow to replace those harvested for biomass, the biofuels cycle therefore is carbon-neutral. Provide a sustainable forest management is practiced. That is, forest harvest is limited to annual new growth. Calling for us can be an effective method to mitigate mega fire risk and to provide additional biomass feedstock, but needs to be balanced with new growth. Where using biomass residue can avoid greenhouse gas emissions from burning this waste material, this could result in a negative carbon intensity. The inclusion of such negative results will help achieve net zero GHG targets. The full life cycle GHG emissions need to be evaluated, including carbon capture use and storage, CCUS opportunities. Biomass can generate methane as a substitute for natural gas. Biomethane can potentially result in very low carbon intensities depending on the source. Gas consumers may have a variety of feedstock options, biomethane generated from landfills as I evanescence clover bar facility from methanation of manure either agricultural or domestic, from closed loop renewable natural gas generation systems, or natural gas can be sourced from conventional fossil sources. Comparing the carbon intensities of these various sources measured in grams of CO_2 equivalent per mega joule of energy produced, we can see that biomethane has a very small or even negative carbon output compared to substantial emissions from fossil fuels. As we've seen for every energy source, there are positive and negative attributes to using biomass. It is an abundant local resource, but could be uneconomic at the price required to encourage its delivery. Food crops such as corn, wheat, canola, and soy have established biofuel production pathways, and are supported by a massive farming lobby. However, there are negative consequences for using a food input such as driving up animal feed prices, competing water use, land and waterways degradation associated with biofuel crops, and food poverty from rising food prices. Using biomass residue avoids the food versus fuel conflict. But it is very difficult to secure long-term supply contracts that can be relied upon. Long-term supply is available for some types of biomass residue, but it's highly dependent on the primary market from which the residue is collected. For example, with chips supply from a sawmill is only as secure as the lumber market. Many forums or biomass to energy are carbon-neutral or even negative. But there are also air quality concerns over incineration to produce electricity. Many proven technologies are available for transforming biomass into energy. But some key areas such as gasification remain a challenge when dealing with contaminants. Loggers and farmers can enjoy supplemental income from biomass sales. But competing uses such as animal bidding or animal feed may suffer higher prices. Ethanol and biodiesel markets are well established in North America and Europe. But there are blending limitations because of fuel quality issues. For example, ethanol is generally limited to a 10 percent blend with gasoline before engine warranties are avoided. Ethanol also has poor fuel economy compared to gasoline. The balance of weather biomass is a winner or not really depends on the specific situation. Thank you for your attention. In our next lesson, we'll talk about geothermal energy.