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Thread: Which is more expensive:brush removal or prescribed burn?

  1. Here we don't have much of a wild fire problem. It rarely gets that dry. Some forestry manangement still keeps fire trails open for just in case. A water company has an easement across the ravine I own. I was shocked that they were able to get a machine in there to mow brush etc. Then last year I saw the machine. It is remote control and on tracks. The guy said it can climb 45 degree slopes unless the ground is too loose. It cuts a five ft swath and can take down saplings up to three inches in diameter. I hate to think of what that thing cost.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    The scale prevents either. Which is ultimately the point.
    ^^This.

    I think sometimes people east of the Mississippi (or, more to the point, in Washington DC) lose track of the kinds of numbers involved. The fires in California total out to more than the size of Connecticut. One of them (the August Complex) is larger than Long Island NY.

    Could be worse, I guess: it could be like Australia, where an area the size of Indiana burned.
    Last edited by Lee DeRaud; 09-15-2020 at 4:55 PM.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Same thing happened to the tree cover in Iceland. Once the topsoil is gone, there's literally nothing to save.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    ...The well managed, long-settled Blue Ridge forests are third and fourth generation forests.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    CITATION OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN
    ...
    Give it a rest.
    Odd set of values, but gotta be a name for it.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 09-15-2020 at 6:47 PM. Reason: I thought of the name!
    Flamer. noun (slang) – One who flames, or uses vitriolic criticism.
    Coward. noun (SMC colloquial) – One who refrains from public vitriolic criticism.
    ^^^ From a 'moderate' SMC source.

    Hypocrisy. noun – see above.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    OK if he converts the biomass to oil and then permanently stores the oil underground I agree he is removing carbon from the atmosphere (with natures help). I misunderstood and thought he was producing oil to burn for power generation. I believe what he is doing is referred to as carbon sequestration. Thanks for clarifying, I was wondering why he was storing the oil underground thinking that it was intended for power generation. Love to see a link to an article about the process.
    Yes, permanent sequestration. His main competition is direct carbon capture which is very expensive. The beauty of his plan is that he’s avoiding the expense of removing the contaminants that has bedeviled other pyrolysis schemes. It costs too much to make a bio-oil useful. It cost very little to sequester it.

    heres the link
    https://charmindustrial.com/

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    Odd set of values, but gotta be a name for it.
    Bane of Snowflakes?

  6. #51
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    [QUOTE=Roger Feeley;3055089 The beauty of his plan is that he’s avoiding the expense of removing the contaminants that has bedeviled other pyrolysis schemes.
    [/QUOTE]

    It cant be worse than removing the impurities in petroleum, can it? Were the costs of collecting, transporting and storage of the biomass included?

  7. #52
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    Thanks for the link, sounds like a promising development. Not clear how the financial side of it will work but I'm a retired engineer not accountant so I probably wouldn't understand that side of it anyway. Perhaps under a cap and trade carbon market, companies would fund carbon capture projects using this technology to offset carbon emissions they produce to achieve carbon neutrality.
    I would guess agricultural waste or biomass waste such as sawdust from sawmills would be more practical as feedstock than debris scattered around the forest floor so this would more effective in fighting climate change than reducing available fuel for wildfires but I think we need to do both.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lawrence View Post
    From the NYT in 1994:

    "BEGINNING about 1,100 years ago, what is now California baked in two droughts, the first lasting 220 years and the second 140 years. Each was much more intense than the mere six-year dry spells that afflict modern California from time to time, new studies of past climates show. The findings suggest, in fact, that relatively wet periods like the 20th century have been the exception rather than the rule in California for at least the last 3,500 years, and that mega-droughts are likely to recur."

    https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/19/s...alifornia.html
    Nicholas,
    Interesting point. Jared Diamond who wrote, “Guns Germs and Steel”, wrote a book called “Collapse” where he described civilizations that disappeared and how their collapse happened. I believe one chapter was the Vikings failure in Greenlsnd. If I remember, they arrived during an unusually warm period. When the weather returned to normal, they couldn’t make a go of it.

    i highly recommend both books.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    I read about all these fires in the west and it made me wonder. Say you have the political will to be proactive. Your choice is to remove the flammable materials or se a fire yourself and try to control it. If you do a prescribed burn, you have to have a lot of people to keep it from getting out of control. If you remove the material, you have to stash it someplace.

    would anyone know the economics?
    California has 33,000,000 acres of forest. If you have to remove an average of 6" (I really have no idea, but 6" seems about right) you would have 700,000,000,000 cubic feet. That is about 2,000,000,000 dump truck loads. Assuming each truck can make 2 runs a day, 250 days a year, you would need a fleet of 4,000,000 trucks. You need people to load, unload, run and maintain the trucks; maybe 20 people per truck; so you need 80,000,000 people for the operation.
    I won't even speculate on where you might put this material.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    California has 33,000,000 acres of forest. If you have to remove an average of 6" (I really have no idea, but 6" seems about right) you would have 700,000,000,000 cubic feet. That is about 2,000,000,000 dump truck loads. Assuming each truck can make 2 runs a day, 250 days a year, you would need a fleet of 4,000,000 trucks. You need people to load, unload, run and maintain the trucks; maybe 20 people per truck; so you need 80,000,000 people for the operation.
    I won't even speculate on where you might put this material.
    I won't even speculate what percentage of the 33M acres is even accessible by truck.

    In any case, at the moment about 10% of it is already on fire: at this rate the problem will solve itself within a decade.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    Thanks for the link, sounds like a promising development. Not clear how the financial side of it will work but I'm a retired engineer not accountant so I probably wouldn't understand that side of it anyway. Perhaps under a cap and trade carbon market, companies would fund carbon capture projects using this technology to offset carbon emissions they produce to achieve carbon neutrality.
    I would guess agricultural waste or biomass waste such as sawdust from sawmills would be more practical as feedstock than debris scattered around the forest floor so this would more effective in fighting climate change than reducing available fuel for wildfires but I think we need to do both.
    it’s a matter of putting his plant in some spot where he can depend on a continuous source of biomass. He’s currently planning on corn stalks. It occurs to me that if folks in California would like to remove flammable material, then at some point that stuff is in a truck. Maybe now, the stuff is thrown in a pile. They could just as well dump it off at a plant where the carbon would never go into the atmosphere.

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    it’s a matter of putting his plant in some spot where he can depend on a continuous source of biomass. He’s currently planning on corn stalks. It occurs to me that if folks in California would like to remove flammable material, then at some point that stuff is in a truck. Maybe now, the stuff is thrown in a pile.
    See post #54: he's gonna need a much bigger plant.

    And for some reason the phrase "spontaneous combustion" just jumped into my head...
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    it’s a matter of putting his plant in some spot where he can depend on a continuous source of biomass. He’s currently planning on corn stalks. It occurs to me that if folks in California would like to remove flammable material, then at some point that stuff is in a truck. Maybe now, the stuff is thrown in a pile. They could just as well dump it off at a plant where the carbon would never go into the atmosphere.
    A continuous source of biomass is the easy part, how do you finance the plant and pay for its operation and maintenance since you are not producing a sellable product? I'm guessing, as I suggested, you are selling a carbon offset (if that's the correct term) so a company that produces CO2 can avoid going over their allotted limit. Again, engineer not accountant.

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