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Climate & Energy

The Future of Wood Bioenergy in the United States: Defining Sustainability, Status, Trends and Outlooks for Regional Development

The purpose of this volume is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information available on viable options for wood bioenergy development. These papers examine the policy mechanisms that can help ensure sustainability over the longer term. Topics covered include how best to assess regional supply and availability of woody biomass, how best to pair appropriately scaled technologies with these supplies, and how wood bioenergy is developing differently in various regions of the US. This compilation also explores the current and future policy and regulatory framework and identifies ways to guide wood bioenergy development towards effective achievement of public policy goals for renewable energy, climate change mitigation, and natural resource sustainability.
Section 1. Introduction. Ensuring Sustainability in the Development of Wood Bioenergy, V. Alaric Sample (Pinchot Institute for Conservation)   [Show Abstract]

Key topics

  • The role of wood bioenergy in national/regional goals for renewable energy development and climate change mitigation Overview of current and new technologies for wood bioenergy production
  • Overview of current and new technologies for wood bioenergy production
  • Overview of current efforts to develop new technologies and expand existing technologies for wood bioenergy production
  • Common information needs for wood bioenergy development and the sustainable utilization of local forest resources
  • Sustainability dimensions- economic, social and environmental considerations while considering climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Heat, power and liquid biofuels: Competing options for biomass?


Section 2. Developing realistic assessments of woody biomass supply and availability

Key topics

  • Factors affecting supply from wood residues and byproducts from wood products industries
  • Wood supply from sustainable forestry operations: distinguishing between inventory and availability
  • Ecosystem restoration: effects on near-term and long-term sustainable supply
  • Stabilizing wood supply from mixed ownership landscapes
  • Potential role of short-rotation woody crops (including GMO)
  • National and regional assessments of woody biomass availability in the US.
    • Summary of the "Billion Ton Study" Revisions, Ken Skog and Marilyn Buford (USFS)   [Show Abstract]
  • State assessments of woody biomass supply.
    • Sustainable Forest Bioenergy: State Strategies and Incentives Overview, Marcia Patton-Mallory (USFS) and Francisco Aguilar (University of Missouri)   [Show Abstract]
    • An Estimation Procedure for Determining Woody Biomass Within Virginia, Bob Smith (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)   [Show Abstract]
  • Developing supply projections on predominantly public forest landscapes.
  • Developing supply projections on predominantly private forest landscapes.
    • Potential Impact of Bio-Energy Demand in the South, Bob Abt (North Carolina State)   [Show Abstract]
    • Forest Fuel Reduction and Biomass Supply: Perspectives from Southern Private Landowners, Jim Gan (Texas A&M)   [Show Abstract]
  • Potential for biomass supply from short-rotation woody crops.
    • Tim Volk and Ed White (SUNY Syracuse)
  • Genetic improvement of forest plantations for bioenergy applications.
    • Short Rotation Woody Crops for Industrial Applications, Maud Hinchee (ArborGen, LLC)   [Show Abstract]


Section 3. Evaluating alternative technologies for wood bioenergy facilities

Key topics

  • Liquid biofuels from woody biomass
    • Adaptation of existing wood processing plants for joint production (e.g., pulp/paper mills re-engineered to produce paper and biofuels)
    • Characteristics of stand-alone biofuels facilities
  • Electric power production
    • Large centralized wood-fired powerplants and smaller distributed wood-fired powerplants
  • Combined heat and power
    • Integrated power generation and wood processing
    • District heating for facilities and communities
  • Wood pellet production
    • Production for local and domestic markets
    • Production for industrial export
  • Green energy for existing businesses e.g. food processing, breweries, improving carbon footprint of corn ethanol facilities
  • Status of research, development, commercialization of wood-based cellulosic ethanol facilities [literature review].
    • Cellulosic Ethanol Production: Status of Conversion Technologies in the United States, Puneet Dwivedi (University of Florida) and Dr. Janaki R.R. Alavalapati (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)   [Show Abstract]
  • Adaptation of existing pulp & amp; paper facilities to produce advanced biofuels.
    • Repurposing a Kraft Pulp and Paper Mill to the Production of Ethanol, Richard Phillips (North Carolina State University)   [Show Abstract]
    • Bob Byrne (Flambeau River Biofuels)
  • Factors affecting the establishment of wood-fired electric power plants in the US.
    • Biomass Power for Utility Applications, Tom Johnson (Southern Company)   [Show Abstract]
  • Factors affecting the enhancement of electrical co-generation in conjunction with pulp and paper manufacturing.
    • Barriers to the expansion of electrical co-generation by the wood products industry in the United States, Irene Kowalczyk (MeadWestvaco)   [Show Abstract]
  • Evolution of technologies for facility-level CHP, community-scale district heating, and residential heating with wood pellets
    • Stabilizing Energy Costs for Communities Using Local Biomass, Tim Maker (Biomass Energy Resource Center)   [Show Abstract]
    • Developments in the Domestic Wood Pellet Industry, Charles Niebling (New England Wood Pellet)   [Show Abstract]


Section 4. Economic considerations in the development of wood bioenergy

Key topics

  • The changing economics of wood bioenergy
    • Transportation and the dual effect of oil prices
    • Price response to increasing local wood demand
  • Effects of national, state and local policy frameworks
    • Differential incentives for achieving specific policy goals
    • Renewable portfolio standards and climate action plans: state and national
    • Grid connectivity and utility regulatory considerations
  • Factors influencing private capital investment in wood bioenergy development.
    • Renewable Energy Investment Preferences, Francisco Aguilar (University of Missouri)   [Show Abstract]
  • Economics of forest biomass recovery.
    • Economics and Logistics of Biomass Utilization: The Superior National Forest, Dalia Abbas (University of Minnesota) and Don Arnosti (Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy)   [Show Abstract]
    • Economics of forest biomass removal for bioenergy, Alexander Evans (Forest Guild)   [Show Abstract]
  • Effect of oil prices on the economics of wood bioenergy.
    • Effects of Oil Price on Wood Bioenergy, Nina Eichacker (University of Massachusetts)   [Show Abstract]
  • Bioenergy expansion effects on existing wood products industries: competitor or partner?
    • Effects of Renewable Energy Mandates on the Sustainability of Forests in the Southeastern U.S., Greg Comatas and Jeff Shumaker (International Paper)   [Show Abstract]
  • Wood bioenergy development as a component in regional/state/community strategies for sustainable economic development.
    • Wood bioenergy development as a component in community strategies for sustainable economic development, Mike DeBonis (Forest Guild)   [Show Abstract]
  • Wood bioenergy effects on stabilizing energy costs for local communities.
    • Stabilizing Energy Costs for Communities Using Local Biomass: Economics of Community-Scale Wood Heating and CHP, Tim Maker and Adam Sherman (Biomass Energy Resource Center)   [Show Abstract]
    • Creating a biomass utilization business for managed forest owners, Steve Mueller (International Woodfuels)   [Show Abstract]


Section 5. Environmental considerations in the development of wood bioenergy

Key topics

  • Principles for ensuring environmental sustainability in woody biomass production
  • Ecological considerations relating to silviculture, tree retention and leaving adequate coarse woody materials
  • Ecological considerations relating to land conversion
  • Practices for intensively managed forest plantations and short-rotation woody crops
  • Addressing community-level environmental considerations
    • Local facility considerations (air quality, water quality, water supply)
    • Sustainable community economic development considerations
  • Improving the economics of sustainable forest management
    • Creating value for private forests
    • Bioenergy effects on forest land conservation and sustainable management
    • Financing ecosystem restoration on public forests
  • Life cycle analysis of wood bioenergy and biofuels systems
  • Ecological sustainability concerns in woody biomass harvesting.
  • Factoring woody biomass management into state BMPs/forest practices regulation.
    • Overview of state initiatives to develop woody biomass harvesting guidelines, Alexander Evans (Forest Guild)
    • Developing Woody Biomass Harvesting Guidelines for Wisconsin's Forestland, Darrell Zastrow (Wisconsin DNR)   [Show Abstract]
    • Environmental Effects of Forest Biomass Removal, Joe Misek (Oregon Department of Forestry)   [ Show Abstract ]
  • Guidelines for socially acceptable use of forest biotechnology in woody biomass plantations.
    • Responsible Use of Biotechnology, Adam Costanza (Institute for Forest Biotechnology)   [Show Abstract]
  • Consideration of sustainable woody biomass management forest certification programs.
    • Forest fuel harvesting: a review of environmental risks, criteria and indicators and certification standards for environmental sustainability, Brenna Lattimore and Tat Smith (University of Toronto)   [Show Abstract]
    • Sustainability indicators for woody biomass harvesting, Pankaj Lal (Virginia Polytechnic and State University)   [Show Abstract]
  • Maintaining climate mitigation benefits and addressing air quality concerns.
    • Sustainable Development of Biofuel Potentials from Forest Biomass Resources: A Framework to Examine the Long-term GHG balances and Sustainability Impacts, Peter Tittmann and Sonia Yeh (University of California)


Section 6. Regional outlooks for sustainable wood bioenergy development Papers
  • Outlook for the South, David Wear (USFS)
  • Outlook for the Lake States, Dennis Becker (University of Minnesota)   [Show Abstract]
  • Outlook for the Northeast, Ian MacFarlane (Northeast Area Assoc of State Foresters)
  • Outlook for the interior West, Jay Jensen (Western Forestry Leadership Council)   [Show Abstract]
  • Outlook for the Pacific Coast, Catherine Mater (Mater Engineering)
  • Outlook for Alaska, Marcia Patton-Mallory (USFS)   [Show Abstract]


Section 7. Policy implications

Key topics

  • Start-up incentives: reducing risk for initiating private investment without creating long-term economic dependencies or distorting market development
    • What are the public goals to be achieved
    • Designing the structure and duration of incentives to facilitate private capital investment and efficient functioning of economic markets
    • Public policy targets: renewable portfolio standards (power production), renewable fuel standards, Low Carbon Fuel and Energy Standards
    • Incentives: Renewable fuel production tax credits; carbon registries and differentiation of GHG emissions from low-carbon/renewable sources; earning and utilization of renewable energy credits
  • Public, private, and partnership roles in addressing continuing research needs
    • Optimizing the scale and distribution of facilities from the standpoint of forest sustainability
    • Incorporating bioenergy production into existing wood processing industry
  • Near-term policy priorities and goals: Perspectives from forest industry, energy industry, state government, forest landowners, conservation organizations, forest-based communities.
    • National Policy and Incentive Survey and Overview: Forest-Derived Woody Biomass, Jesse Caputo (Environment and Energy Study Institute)   [Show Abstract]
  • Sustainable expansion of wood bioenergy: reconciling the goals of the 2007 Energy Policy Act and the 2008 Farm Bill.
    • Stakeholder Views on the Definition, Opportunities and Challenges of Woody Biomass as an Energy Feedstock, Francisco Aguilar (University of Missouri)   [Show Abstract]


Section 8. Summary and synthesis
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