In the quest for alternative fuels and the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, many people are considering new technologies. However, old technologies may be what actually save us from environmental disaster. Several old technologies are gaining popularity today because they are affordable and meet the demands of living a modern lifestyle with a small carbon footprint.
Among these technologies is wood gasification.
Rising Levels of Greenhouse Gases
The chief greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, which plays an important role in temperature regulation and is essential to plant life. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. After plants die, they release carbon dioxide as part of a cycle that keeps approximately the same amount of the gas in the atmosphere. This cycle is known as a carbon-neutral process.
The burning of fossil fuels releases additional amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and these rising carbon dioxide levels are thought to be the source of what is called the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is associated with global warming and world climate change that can adversely affect life on the planet. Therefore, many people are advocating replacing technology that requires fossil fuels with technology that is more sustainable and closer to carbon neutral.
Wood Gasification Technology
Wood gasification is a technical process whereby wood fuel goes through a controlled burn to release natural flammable gases. The burning wood fuel then ignites the gases to produce a source of heat that is twice as efficient as a traditional wood boiler. Gasification furnaces also reduce emissions by about 99 percent.
The gasification process begins in the lower chambers of a specially designed furnace. The burning wood produces extremely hot flames, and the gas given off by the wood is directed into another chamber. The residual heat of the furnace then ignites the gas so that most of the carbon dioxide released from the burning wood is consumed.
Wood is highly desirable as a fuel because it can be obtained sustainably from multiple sources, including low-grade wood byproducts that are otherwise unusable. This low-grade wood is formed into slow-burning pellets that are perfect for gasification furnaces. These furnaces can be used to efficiently and affordably heat homes and other buildings.
Gasification technology has been used since the 1940s. During World War II, over one million gasification furnaces were in use, and they have been modified to fuel the internal combustion engines of passenger vehicles and farm equipment. The resurgence of this old technology may very well lead us into a safer future.
Jill Burbank is a professional inbound marketer who guest blogs for many publications with a love for the environment. Follow her @JillBurbank2.