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Download Role of Alternative Energy Sources: Pulverized Coal and Biomass Co-firing Technology Assessment (Fact Sheet)
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Date: 8/30/2012
Type: Fact Sheet
Status: Active
NETL Contact: Timothy J. Skone, P.E.
Technology Focus Area(s): Advanced Combustion Systems
Analysis Focus Area(s): GHG Mitigation
Author(s): Timothy J Skone (NETL)

Product Description
This analysis evaluates the role of coal and biomass co-firing power in the future energy portfolio of the U.S. Coal and biomass co-firing power is evaluated with respect to resource base, growth potential, environmental profile, costs, barriers, risks, and expert opinions. Co-firing is seen as a way of reducing the greenhouse gas 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.