Bioenergy: New Ways to Operate

New biomass baling system removes shrubs and small trees. Photo credit: USDA Forest Service

When serious discussions about producing energy from woody biomass first started, the costs of harvesting and hauling the small-diameter wood and residues proposed as feedstocks presented a major barrier to making the wood-to-energy market work.

For over a decade now, scientists at the SRS Forest Operations Research unit in Auburn, AL, have been field testing machines and processes for harvesting and transporting fuels for bioenergy, working to make the new industry more efficient and sustainable. The foremost in their field, theyre now involved in projects with a range of owners on multiple locations.

One thing they know for sure:  theres no one-size-fits-all when it comes to bioenergy operations.The forest operations unit has worked with university, industry, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Defense partners to investigate the best ways to harvest, haul and process wood feedstocks for use in biomass burners and to produce biofuels.

Read more about their work in Issue 17 of Compass: .


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