Life Cycle Analysis

Role of Alternative Energy Sources: Pulverized Coal and Biomass Co-firing Technology Assessment
Co-firing is seen as a way of reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of existing coal-fired power plants, but the incorporation of biomass into an existing coal-fired system increases the complexity of feedstock acquisition. Further, the acquisition of biomass has unique GHG burdens that offset, in part, the GHG reductions from the displacement of coal with biomass. Due to the higher feedstock prices of biomass, the co-firing of biomass at a 10 percent share of feedstock energy can increase the cost of electricity by as much as 31 percent. Other risks include regulatory uncertainty; without policies that encourage the use of renewable feedstocks, there is no incentive for producers to invest in co-fired systems.
Authors: Tim Skone, James Littlefield, Robert Eckard, Greg Cooney, Robert Wallace, Joe Marriott, PhD
Date: August, 2012

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