US Forest Service funds wood energy projects

By Erin Voegele | May 07, 2021

The USDA on May 7 awarded more than $15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expend the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests. A portion of that funding will support bioenergy projects.

According to USDA, the grant funding, delivered through USDA Forest Service programs, will support 60 projects, including those that expand markets for biochar and wood energy.

“To manage wildfire and address climate, we need to manage our forests,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s investments underpin USDA’s commitment to address the climate crisis with a market-based approach that begins to move us toward a clean energy economy, led by production of renewable fuel and energy and biobased products grown and manufactured here in the U.S. The American Jobs Plan and USDA’s budget request for 2022 make sure the Forest Service can prioritize forest management and restoration.”

“We are placing emphasis on assisting wood energy facilities in economically challenged areas to retool or add advanced technology to replace systems that are inefficient or fueled by fossil fuels,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen. “The grants will also expand markets for cross-laminated timber in commercial and multi-family housing, which supports the important connection to healthy forests and manufacturing in rural communities.”


Bioenergy-related awards made under the Wood Innovations Grant Program include:

City of Nenana, Alaska: $167,745 to support the installation of a wood biomass district heat boiler.

Climate Action Reserve: $$113,417 to simulate the production of and use of biochar through carbon markets.

Aemetis Advanced Product Keyes Inc.: $245,044 to support the valorizing of forest waste for cellulosic ethanol production.

Pacific Biochar Benefit Corp.: $247,000 to upgrade a biomass power plant to allow for biochar production and increased throughput of forest biomass.

University of Nebraska: $118,431 to develop tools for success for biochar market development.

Wisewood Energy: $250,000 for bulk pellet storage and distribution to stabilize Oregon’s institutional biomass heating market.

Lignetics Inc.: $129,900 to demonstrate patented technology to decarbonize wood pellet feedstock resulting in CO2 emission reduction.

Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods Inc.: $250,000 to generate wood energy onsite from sawmill low-value waste products.

Orcas Power & Light Cooperative: $72,835 to support biomass generation with biochar for island energy resilience.


Bioenergy awards made under the Community Wood Grant Program include:

Arizona Log & TimberWorks LLC: $479,721 to integrate a biochar plant, firewood kiln and pole peeler into the production process at a forest products facility.

Biogas Energy Inc.: $167,000 to install a bio-oil boiler to use forest-based bio-oil at an industrial facility.

Jackson Paper Manufacturing Co.: $369,508 to rebuild a 39-year-old wood boiler that uses over 80,000 tons of low value wood per year from 35 forests products businesses.

DCI Furniture Inc.: $705,600 to install a new wood boiler to generate space heat, process heat, and electricity at a vertically integrated furniture plant.

A full list of awards is available on the U.S. Forest Service website