Identify Potential Sites for Energy Production from Woody Biomass

Principal Investigator:

Dietmar Rose, Professor-Retired, Forest Resources

Co-Investigators:

Project Summary:

Production of energy, from renewable resources is once again emerging as a high priority issue for the society. The intent of this study is to evaluate the economic feasibility of energy production from woody biomass, to address the question of the best sites for such powerplants in the state, and to examine the impacts of the additional demand for wood on existing forest industries. Increasing demand for wood from traditional forest industries has been putting upward pressure on timber prices over the past few years. Wood-based power plants would add demand and add to price pressures. To alleviate supply shortages, the use of marginal agricultural lands with fast growing hybrid poplar has been advocated to produce biomass energy. Approximately two million acres of marginal agricultural land is set aside under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Minnesota. The contract payments on these lands cost the federal government about 105 million dollars annually. The power industry might try to pass increases in the cost of wood-based energy to the consumer or look for public subsidies. The DTRAN/GISTRAN model developed at the College of Natural Resources will be utilized to develop a number of long-term management schedules similar to the ones generated for the Minnesota GEIS. The key difference will be the expansion of the model to consider a number of potential on-traditional market locations of wood consumers that represent the energy production sector. A number of potential sites will be identified on the basis of current interest to produce biomass from fast-growing species on agricultural sites. For these sites, wood demand in traditional units like cords and BTU equivalents will be estimated for powerplants over a range of electric production capacity. Management schedules will be developed that reflect the demand for traditional wood consumers as well as these potential new consumers of wood. Woody biomass production costs are generally low in re

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 09/1995
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Environment