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The Forum > Article Comments > Swedish bioenergy sector facing its Waterloo > Comments

Swedish bioenergy sector facing its Waterloo : Comments

By Roger Kalla, published 19/3/2009

One Dutchman’s trash is another European’s treasure- the pros and cons of Sweden's bioenergy industry.

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Things are crook when you have to pay for garbage to be delivered to you. It looks like most newspapers will end up online only and not printed. However the woodchips could be burned in mini-power stations near forests so the nutrient rich ash could be spread back on the soil. That might cut out local water heating however. It would need to be dry and problem free biomass to offer peak loading balancing to wind and solar. The boilers would have to run 24/7 to be able to throttle up quickly. Gasification of garbage with plasma torches may create a storable gas but doesn't seem to leave much spare energy. Methane from landfill gas and sewage seems inherently limited.

I'm not sure how much brown coal contributes to the grid in WA,SA and Vic, maybe 25% of the national total. I don't think biowaste could possibly get near that. I think Australia should get most of its electric baseload from nuclear. Barring a breakthrough in thin film solar wind should be developed in prime sites. As far as possible biowaste firing should aim to fill the gap when the wind output is low. Natural gas should be conserved for diesel substitute and urea manufacture, only used to make electricity as a last resort. Most of this runs counter to current practice.
Posted by Taswegian, Thursday, 19 March 2009 2:47:02 PM
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Both the author and Taswegian make good sense.
Al this goes to confirm in my mind that a policy reliant on “clean coal” is at best wishful thinking and that the solutions to our problems DON’T lie in a single magic bullet but in a myriad of different solutions.

On the mainland some cities transport local rubbish to further and further away destinations virgin areas. These previous gas emitting mass sites remain underused for year and are rarely stable enough for housing. Therefore further forcing a wider spread population. Some of the disadvantages of this are disease from wild animals, devastating bush fires, environmental damage, tree clearing and drying of the continent. So too this myth that has permeated all sectors of our life that this is wide brown land there for our consequence free exploitation.

It seems to me that one of the biggest factoring in non- sorting of rubbish here is lack of interest/motivation because of the lack of a clear personal benefit and opportunity. In the example given the self interest is obvious to all every time they turn on a hot water tap or switch.
Trust the Swedes to come up with a practical no nonsense solution. Given that about 200 years ago (about the same as Australia) Sweden was an almost bankrupt backward agrarian almost feudal society.

Rather than simply ape them why not borrow some of their ideas and create a set Aussie solutions i.e. different mix for different areas.

We have shown our innovative solution thinking in the past. I wonder our greater population size and wide variation in community sizes why ideas like this aren’t under more active consideration.
I posit that we are only limited by our collective lack of imagination refected in our government's timidity (lack of support), financial and commercial sectors that are obsessed with the easy buck and the magic pudding syndrome.
Posted by examinator, Friday, 20 March 2009 8:48:42 AM
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