FirstEnergy to burn biomass

In the US, endeavours to cut back on burning coal for power generation have moved a step in the green direction.

A subsidiary of FirstEnergy, Ohio Edison, has agreed to switch two coal-powered generators to biomass fuel, creating electricity by burning a mixture of wood, crop residues and other waste.

The plan is the result of a Justice Department order that mandated the company either shut down the plant, install a scrubber or switch to natural gas.

FirstEnergy opted for the latter but requested a modification to use biomass instead of gas, as it is less expensive than the other two options.

The original order mandated that the refitted generators should bring about a reduction in emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

In addition to this, the company says carbon dioxide emissions will approach carbon neutrality, because the wood and other vegetation used for the fuel will absorb carbon dioxide while growing.

FirstEnergy has until 2012 to switch over the generators, which are located in Shadyside, Ohio.

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