U.S. Forest Service grants expand wood energy markets

By U.S. Forest Service | May 25, 2017

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently announced over $8.3 million to substantially expand and accelerate wood products and wood energy markets. Federal funds will leverage almost $37 million in matching funds from 36 business, university, nonprofit, and tribal partners in 19 states for a total investment of over $45 million. The public-private partnerships leveraged with these grants will lead to the removal of hazardous fuels from forests while spurring the economic development of rural communities.

The awarded funds will stimulate the removal of hazardous fuels from national forests and other forest lands to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and promote forest health.

“The Wood Innovations Grant Program helps create jobs in rural communities and keeps our forests healthy,” Tidwell said. “By investing in strong markets for forest products, we can incentivize sustainable forest management and sustain our rural communities".

This year the Forest Service received 114 proposals, highlighting the expanding interest in using wood as an innovative building material and renewable energy source. Since 2005 more than 230 grants have been awarded to small businesses, nonprofits, tribes, states, and local governments to improve forest health while creating jobs, renewable energy, and healthy communities.

Of the 38 projects funded, 26 focus upon expanding wood products markets, and 12 increase wood energy markets. Projects address a wide range of issues that include increasing capacity at mass timber manufacturing facilities, testing the resiliency of cross-laminated timber (CLT) structures against explosives, establishing biomass district energy systems, and examining the use of biochar in restoring water quality.

Since 2013 this funding has helped establish 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams and six Statewide Wood Utilization Teams that collectively expand and support wood energy and wood products markets. This year, two more Statewide Wood Utilization Teams will be established in Alabama and Arkansas. These multiagency teams include federal, state, business, nonprofit and other partners.

Recipients of the 2017 Wood Innovation grants are from Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. A complete list of the awards and more information on the grant and cooperative agreement program is available online at the Forest Service Wood Education and Resource Center.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.  The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.


2017 Wood Innovations Grant Recipients

Project Title



Biomass Gasification for Combined Heat and Power

Fairbanks North Star Borough


Tazlina Cordwood Fired Boiler District Heating System Design

Native Village of Tazlina


Growing Markets for Alabama Wood Products

Alabama Forestry Foundation


Arkansas Wood Utilization Council

University of Arkansas


Feasibility Assessment for a Commercial Scale Woody Biomass Conversion Facility in Central Arizona

Town of Prescott Valley


Wood-based Biochar as an Alternative Adsorption Media for the Control of Off-gasses at Wastewater Treatment Plants

CA Association of Sanitation Agencies


Camptonville Forest Biomass Business Center Bioenergy Facility

Camptonville Community Partnership


Rebuilding Biomass Energy Feedstock Trucking Capacity in Northeastern California

H.L. Power Company LP


Hazardous Fuels and Tree Mortality Removals

J.W. Bamford, Inc.


Building Momentum for Biomass: Designing Quincy Jr/Sr High School's Biomass Heating System and Navigating California's Division of the State Architect (DSA)

Plumas Unified School District


Western Nevada and Central Sierra Nevada of California Regional Wood Utilization Team

Regents of University of California, Santa Cruz


Mammoth Lakes Integrated Biomass Waste Processing Center

Town of Mammoth Lakes


Moving Biomass for Resilient Forests

Wood Source Fuels, LLC


Blast-Resistant Testing for Loaded Mass Timber Structures



Expanding the CLT Market into Temporary Military Structures

GA Institute of Technology


Biomass Boiler Conversion Design & Engineering

Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Foundation


WREP - Willow Renewable Energy Project

Precision Energy Services, Inc.


Design and Engineering Solutions for Heavy Timber Commercial Construction in the Inland Northwest

University of Idaho


Indiana Hardwood CLT Project



Potential Impact of the Biochar Industry on National Forests

Dovetail Partners, Inc.


Minnesota Made Transitional Nail Cross Laminated Timber (nCLT) Panels

University of MN


Great Plains CLT market Development through Architectural Education

University of NE-Lincoln


Great Plains Biochar Initiative

University of NE-Lincoln


Mass Market Flooring from NFS Lands

Old Wood, LLC


Sandoval County, NM Biomass Utilization Project

Sandoval County


Houston House - 8 Story Tall CLT Passive House for Urban Infill Conditions

298 East Village Property LLC


Scaled Demonstration of Biological Resin System to Expand the Non-structural Engineered Wood Market

Ecovative Design, LLC


Freres Mass Plywood Panel Plant with Weinmann CNC Solution

Freres Lumber Co., Inc.


Defining Project-specific Custom CLT Grade Utilize Low-value Ponderosa Pine Lumber from Logs Harvesting in SW Oregon and Northern California Forest Restoration Programs

Oregon State University


Creating Manufacturing Capacity in the U.S. Mass Timber Sector

Oregon State University


Post-tensioned CLT Rocking Walls

Home Forward Development Enterprise


Integrated Wood Products Campus

Wyeast Timber Services/Neal Creek Forest Products


National Wood Energy Technical Assistance Team

Wilson Engineering Services, PC


Using Forest Fire and Slash Residue for De-Europhication of Regional Lakes

Ag Energy Solutions, Inc.


Develop Manufacturing Capacity through the Purchase of CNC Machinery to Expand the Market for CLT in Commercial Building While Using Timber Sourced from National Forest System Restoration Projects

Vaagen Timbers, LLC


Washington Woodland Cooperative: Firewood Program

Washington Woodland Cooperative


Driving Commercial Construction Markets for SDRT: Digital Tools for Designers and Specifiers

Whole Trees LLC dba WholeTrees Architecture 7 Structures


Producing CLT Panels from Low Value Appalachian Hardwoods

West Virginia University