There is a great opportunity for the resurrection of an old technology. This solution proposes to use wood (From timber yard waste, slash, forestry discards, & coppiced wood) for pyrolysis, producing organic products and charcoal. The material is placed in a kiln and heated to maintain a pyrolysis process that produces chemical vapours and leaves charcoal residue. Export logs could be squared up which will make transport more efficient and provide more input. The charcoal can be used as an energy source, substituting for coal as well as other uses for charcoal. There is a large amount of material left behind from forestry operations that decays and puts back carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
The advantages of this technology are:
1. Requires no new technology.
2. Uses an existing resource.
3. Makes good use of waste, gaining energy from the decay into carbon dioxide.
4. Provides a local and distributed solution which benefits remote communities.
5. Does not depend on a fluctuating supply. (Eg solar & tidal supply sources).
6. Human scaled.
7. Eliminates impossible demands for good agricultural land (eg. Crop biomass for fuels.).
8. Provides for potential export return gains.
9. The system can be implemented in small steps, reducing the cost risk of unpredicted problems.
10. Provides a diversity of uses that give flexibility of options. (Eg: Smokeless domestic fuel, light vehicle fuel alternative, coal substitution for smelting, soil conditioner, electricity generation options.)
This can be implemented in a staged process. Phase 1: Construction of small pyrolysis kilns and production of charcoal.
Phase 2: Add distillation of exhaust gases to gain organic by-products.
Phase 3: Gain export advantages in wood supply, by squaring up export logs.
Phase 4: Gasify charcoal and implement small combined cycle turbine power units for local hot water and electricity.
Phase 5: Implement direct fuel cell units to produce electricity directly.
Initial implementation should take place in existing forestry areas where there is existing waste wood supply and practical experience. Then, develop the market. As the systems are developed, expand to communities where there can be sufficient wood supply and coppicing areas implemented. As markets gain confidence in the products, there is the option for further expansion to take place.