In recent weeks, high electricity and heating prices have filled much of the front pages. There are many reasons for these high prices: lack of wind, sun, water, disruption of nuclear plants in France, cold waves ...
When this happens, it is when debate is generated and many things are put on the table. That is why today I want to talk about biomass.
Before we continue, it should be made clear that the best tool to combat this situation is efficiency. On a global scale, humans are still highly dependent on fossil fuels: more than 70% of the energy we use comes from these sources (33% oil, 29% coal, 24% natural gas). Needless to say, the damaging effects of their combustion, the volatility that characterizes them, and the price correlation they have. Also, since we don't have them here, we need to import them and, unfortunately, we are too dependent on a few countries. In the case of oil, over 50% of what we use in Catalonia is imported from OPEC countries. In the case of natural gas it is even worse: more than 50% we import directly from one country: Algeria.
The main difference between fossil fuels and biomass is that we can grow biomass, but in Catalonia we find that 61% of the country's surface area is forest. This is a significant figure given that the average for Europe is 45%. It should be noted that not all of this surface is exploitable, due to the terrain, the distance or because it is part of a protected area. However, the exploitation of this resource in the wild must be done considering that adult trees are central to the ecosystem and so should be as far as possible after their exploitation. forestry.
One of the main advantages of biomass is that the prices are very constant, and also offers the possibility of using resources that were considered a waste as fuel: dried fruit shells, fruit and ornamental tree pruning, olive kernel. and a long etcetera. Also, like herds, it is a tool to prevent fires. Biomass boilers are very sophisticated and can be used all year round; they also have a power and storage system that allows them to be stocked for weeks. The maintenance is very simple and some can be monitored from your mobile. In Catalonia we already have all kinds: from large industrial boilers to boilers that are for domestic or residential use.
Finally, the use of biomass allows for very interesting savings; At present the price is 17 euros per MWh, which is 50% reduction compared to 38 euros per MWh. This money is what we will find most when making house numbers, which is very important given that the Generalitat does not (or does not seem to have) the intention of lowering our taxes.