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Biomass

 

Biomass is already widely exploited in Australia with over 30 generators (as large as 63MW) in Qld and five in NSW consuming sugarcane bagasse. Co-firing in thermal stations has also been applied on a limited basis. Installed biomass capacity has been surpassed by wind power because the present biomass resource is limited to agricultural by-product and hardwood woodchip.

 

In the Bayswater B Submissions Report - AECOM states:

 

The inclusion of biomass co-firing is an option for thermal plant. It increases the capital costs and degrades plant performance. Macquarie Generation has been active in the utilisation of biomass firing to replace coal. The quantity of saw mill residue and vegetable oil co-fired at Bayswater and Liddell was less than 1% by mass due to limited supplies of biomass and plant performance issues. Furthermore biomass had to be sourced from distances up to 300 km incurring prohibitive transport costs. An additional concern is the use of diesel fuel consumed with associated GHG emissions for the transport of the biomass.

 

Macquarie Generation does not currently fire biomass at Bayswater and Liddell due to the impact the low energy fuel has on plant output and the high cost of transport and handling which makes it uneconomic. The lack of available locally sourced biomass and its high cost make biomass co-firing presently non-viable. It is also understood that the future availability of sawmill waste is threatened as a result of the declining native timber hardwood industry.

 

The specific energies of softwoods are significantly lower resulting in little if any useful heat release.

 

A related, emerging technology, might be called bio-solar. This employs genetically modified algae or other biological organisms to absorb solar energy to convert CO2to hydrocarbons for fuel (or plastic and other organic chemistry manufacture). This technology has potential to reduce electricity demand by displacing electricity in a number of industrial and transport processes.

 

 

 

 


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Travel

In the footsteps of Marco Polo

 

 

 

 

Travels in Central Asia

 

In June 2018 we travelled to China before joining an organised tour in Central Asia that, except for a sojourn in the mountains of Tajikistan, followed in the footsteps of Marco Polo along the Great Silk Road. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Lost Magic

 

 

I recently had another look at a short story I'd written a couple of years ago about a man who claimed to be a Time Lord.

I noticed a typo.  Before I knew it I had added a new section and a new character and given him an experience I actually had as a child. 

It happened one sports afternoon - primary school cricket on Thornleigh oval. 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Syria - again

 

A fortnight ago I was moved to suggest that it was possible that the alleged gas attack in Syria might not be the work of the Syrian Army.  I withdrew the posting when more convincing evidence of Army involvement became available.

Because of our visit to Syria took place just before the most recent troubles began, I have been, perhaps, more interested than most.  I wanted to know why Syria is automatically assumed to be guilty when there are some very nasty groups on the other side?

We are fed so much doctored information, spin, that it is hard to get the facts even when we are directly involved.

So to claim that I know what is actually going on in Syria is fanciful.  Assad vehemently denies responsibility; the Russians are doubtful; and the inspectors have not yet reported.  But the certainty, and aggressive language, of the Western leaders accusing Syria of this latest incident seem extraordinary - do they know something that they are not revealing publicly?

As I have explained elsewhere I have fond memories of Damascus and of Syria in general.  Damascus was the most pleasant and interesting of the cities we stayed in; lacking the extremes of poverty and wealth we saw in Cairo (and in Egypt in general) or the more western normality of Amman in Jordan. 

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