What is Wood Gas?How much wood gas is produced from a cord of wood is dependent upon a variety of factors such as the type of wood, moisture content, and size of the pieces. On average, a cord of wood will produce approximately 4,000 to 5,000 cubic feet of wood gas. This gas can be used to generate electricity and heat homes. Additionally, wood gas is a renewable energy source that can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Whether you’re looking for a cleaner and greener way to power your home or you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll probably wonder how much wood gas is produced from a cord of wood. There are several factors to consider, including how much oxygen is removed from the air by burning the wood and the amount of carbon monoxide released.
Carbon monoxide released by burning wood
Using a wood-burning stove in your home can be dangerous, especially if you have a respiratory condition. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can poison you if you breathe it in.
The incomplete combustion of fuels produces it. Incomplete combustion occurs when the ideal power-to-air ratio is not maintained. This can happen when the fire is not burning completely or when the stove needs to be appropriately vented. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. It can kill quickly and in large quantities.
Some people are highly susceptible to CO poisoning, including those with heart disease and asthma. The poison is also harmful to animals.
In the winter, wood burning can produce 90 percent of the particulates in the air that are less than 10 microns in diameter. PM 2.5 is the term for these tiny particles.
The level of carbon monoxide produced by a wood-burning stove depends on the fuel type, the appliance, and the local climate. In the summer, the emissions are lower.
According to a study conducted in Michigan, children in homes with wood-burning stoves have a significantly higher incidence of respiratory illnesses than those without them. Another study done in the Seattle area showed that asthma rates increased due to using wood-burning stoves.
It is important to remember that all heating appliances, including space heaters, must be vented to the outside. Failure to do so can lead to depressurization and other health concerns. The best way to ensure you get the maximum heat from your furnace is to have it checked by a professional before the heating season begins.
Cost-effective alternative to electricity
Using wood for fuel can be an effective way to reduce our carbon footprint. It is one of the most common renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, it requires a bit of effort on the homeowner’s part. Consider the following facts to get the most out of this alternative heat source.
The average household in the United States burns about 3 to 6 cords of wood per year. A good rule of thumb is that a well-managed woodlot will accumulate at least 0.2 to 0.6 lines per acre.
The United Kingdom has built several new wood-fired power plants. The Drax Group owns a 4000-megawatt power station in North Yorkshire.
The European Union plans to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Its regulators have endorsed an earlier decision to designate wood as a carbon-neutral fuel.
The European Commission recommended extending these policies until 2030. The organization’s recommendations include some minor changes. However, the most exciting part of the wood-fuel puzzle is the cost. Typically, coal and natural gas can provide the same amount of heat as a cord of wood, depending on where you live.
A study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) claims that in the next few years, solar and onshore wind will be able to supply electricity for about $0.03 per kWh. For comparison, fossil fuels can cost as much as $0.15 per kWh.
A typical house in the Midwest burns about a third of a cord of wood yearly. The average household in the Northeast consumes more than that. For this reason, the Midwest has been a hotspot for developing alternative heating systems.
Having a carbon-neutral wood gas produced from a cord of wood is a familiar idea. The European Union already counts it as a carbon-neutral energy source.
But the question is whether it works. A recent analysis by an industry group found that most wood pellets produced in the U.S. were made from whole trees.
But that doesn’t mean they are a carbon-neutral source of fuel. The carbon dioxide from burning these woody pellets would likely be greater than that from burning coal.
If you burn a cord of dried Live Oak, you’ll produce about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. That’s almost half as much as you’d get from letting a tree naturally decompose.
But there are several reasons to be wary of such claims. The American Lung Association recommends avoiding wood for heat because it contains fine particles that can harm your health. Also, wood smoke harms people with asthma or other respiratory ailments. Moreover, exposure to wood smoke has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
In other words, while using wood has many benefits, there are better ways to reduce carbon emissions. And some scientists worry that a global logging boom will worsen climate change.
The other problem with this wood-for-fuel claim is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still needs to determine how to make it a reality. In other words, lawmakers and industry groups have yet to put their money where their mouth is.
Fortunately, an EPA panel recently weighed in on the subject. It recommended accounting for the carbon produced when burning wood in 100-year time spans.
Greenwood vs. dry wood
During the Second World War, wood gasification became commonplace in many European countries. The rationing of fossil fuels drove the widespread use of the technology. In Germany, 500,000 producer gas vehicles were produced by the war’s end.
There are two kinds of firewood: green and seasoned. The former is newly cut wood that has yet to be dried out. This type of wood absorbs the most energy in the combustion process. It produces a lot of steam, smoke, and creosote. This makes it difficult to split. The latter is a year or older and has been dry for a long time.
In the burning process, wood releases carbon dioxide, methanol, and carbon monoxide. Some gases are harmless, while others are hazardous. The type of wood also affects the concentration of these gases.
Green wood contains a lot of moisture. This moisture requires evaporation before combustion. If the fire temperature is not kept below the decomposition temperature, the spontaneous breakdown of the wood will continue. This will lead to excessive creosote buildup in the chimney. This is dangerous because creosote deposits on the chimney walls can destroy homes.
It is best to get seasoned wood the year before you burn it. This eliminates the guesswork involved with acquiring wood. A cord of air-dried hardwood weighs around 3,500 pounds. A line of green wood can weigh as much as 4,500 pounds.
The first thing to know about burning green wood is that it produces a lot of smoke. The second is that it burns less hot than seasoned wood. The smoke is thinner and does not contain as much creosote as seasoned wood.
Natural gas vs. synthetic gas
Unlike the conventional fuel used by your average American, synthetic natural gas is a byproduct of burning coal. It is not uncommon to see trucks in North Korea using it. The first use of the stuff was in the 1900s when it was delivered by the petrochemical industry’s answer to the automobile. Even though it was not commercially viable, many cities did their fair share of having it. As of 2018, there are over 300 million cubic feet of natural gas in storage, and the market is ripe for further expansion.
Besides the requisite combustion engine and burner, the wood gasifier is still being made in China and Russia. While you’re at it, consider the burgeoning residential market. While the competition is fierce, the market is worth a close look. The best part is that your house won’t smell like a forest. You can also use the material to build a wage board. This is especially useful if you have a large family.
As a side note, you can also use your newfound source of stogies to power the home heating system or the pool pump. A spruced-up furnace can also help you save a few bucks in the long run. It is even possible to turn your lawn into a green power station.