Hurst Boiler News

Agriculture Secretary Awards Woody Biomass Utilization Projects

Hurst Boiler | October 23, 2010

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the award of more than $4.2 million in grants to 13 small businesses and community groups developing innovative renewable energy projects and new product development using woody biomass from hazardous fuel reduction projects on National Forest land.

"Energy derived from woody biomass, switch-grass and other sources has enormous potential benefits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing clean, home-grown energy, and providing economic opportunities for rural America," Vilsack said. "Markets for woody biomass can also bolster forest restoration activities on both public and private lands, improving the ecological health of our forests and reducing the impacts of global climate change."

Earlier this week, Vilsack released a report which provided a roadmap on how America can meet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) Biofuels Report 6/23/2010. All regions can contribute to meeting America's long term energy needs, and USDA's Forest Service released its strategic direction for bioenergy and biobased products that ties directly to the Obama Administration push to develop alternatives to fossil fuel use in the U.S. The report, found at: RD_Bioenergy_Strategy_March_2010.pdf, says there's an opportunity for America's forest resources to significantly contribute to U.S. energy security, economic development and environmental quality that will result in:

  • Wood-based energy and bioproducts that enhance the environment;
  • Secure, sustainable, renewable energy sources; and
  • Strong rural economies.

Woody biomass includes small-diameter and low-value wood residue such as tree limbs, tops, needles and bark that are often byproducts of forest management activities. Innovative uses for such biomass can help offset expensive thinning operations and enhance the health and resilience of forest ecosystems.