Why Woody Biomass?
A smart solution
As the cost and environmental limitations of traditional fossil-based energy increase, and as more countries implement energy sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, the world must find alternatives.Stable, sustainable and carbon-neutral, purpose-grown woody biomass, such as willow and poplar, has emerged as one of the best options.
An innovative alternative to traditional fossil fuels and other biomass feedstocks, these locally grown crops thrive on under-utilized land and produce abundant sources of reliable, fully renewable energy.
Additionally, they can be readily integrated into existing biomass energy systems, providing end-users with a uniform, high-quality fuel source that consistently delivers predictable energy density.
By blending purpose-grown woody biomass with other feedstocks, heat and power plant operators can:
- meet base-load demand through year-round, 24/7 conversion
- decrease greenhouse gas emissions at reasonable cost
- complement seasonal feedstocks, such as construction or agricultural waste
In addition to being a reliable, home-grown energy source, purpose-grown woody biomass is highly competitive when all supply costs are factored in. Purpose-grown woody biomass helps energy users realize numerous long-term benefits. These include:
more stable fuel costs – reduces the risk of energy cost fluctuations associated with other fuel sources
lower energy costs – blends with less expensive seasonal sources of fuel such as agricultural residue
secure energy supply – ensures a predictable, long term and steady energy source
flexible energy supply – energy crops may be left to grow or harvested early, providing the flexibility required to effectively manage purchases and inventories of residue or seasonal feedstocks
elimination of carbon-dioxide emission penalties – address this rising concern, as more jurisdictions legislate to tax carbon dioxide emissions and legislate renewables standards
carbon-neutral – research shows that every purpose-grown woody biomass megawatt equivalent avoids 64 tons of SOx, 6 tons of NOx and 6,500 tons of CO2 coal emissions.
energy-dense - for every BTU of fuel invested in the planting, growing and harvesting of specially bred willow crops, 55 BTUs of useable fuel are produced.
clean – today’s combustion systems feature computerized controls that minimize particulates and ensure proper flue gas handling, enabling them to meet the most stringent biomass combustion emissions regulations in North America.
attractive - willow plantations look great
A proven fuel source
While purpose-grown woody biomass is a relatively new concept in North America, it’s a well-established energy solution in many other parts of the world. Shrub willow was first bred as a source of energy in Europe in the early 1970s. Today, it’s actively grown as a bioenergy fuel source in Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, with interest spreading to Poland, Germany, Estonia, Asia and portions of South America.
In North America, shrub willow is grown primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest regions of the US, as well as in southern Canada. The Willow Biomass Energy Group, for example, has planted willow in a number of locations:
1200 acres in Strathmore, AB
70 acres in Riley, AB
700 acres in Lyonsdale, NY
75 acres in Prince George, BC
45 acres in East Lycoming, Pennsylvania
30 acres in Marquette, Michigan
50 acres in Middlebury, Vermont
over 600 acres in Quebec
|6 month old Olof variety, near Strathmore, Alberta||5 month old India variety, Ryley Alberta||3 year-old Olof variety, near Strathmore, Alberta|