USDA awards $32M in wood innovations and community grants

By Erin Voegele | May 31, 2022

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on May 27 announced more than $32 million to fund 2022 wood innovations and community grants. Projects to support bioenergy, biofuel and biobased products production are among those to receive funding.

According to the USDA, the 2022 funding is bolstered by $12 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Funding awarded through the programs also leverages $93 million in partner funds, bringing the total to more than $125 million for the 99 funded projects.

“Wood innovation and community wood grants projects like these show us how we can tackle problems like the wildfire crisis and climate change while creating new markets, supporting jobs, building affordable housing and improving conditions on our forests at the same time,” Vilsack said. “Removing hazardous trees that would otherwise threaten wildfire-prone communities and having rural, forest-based economies turn those materials into renewable building and energy products, stand as examples of how a clean energy economy is within reach.”

“With continued USDA investment and with the ongoing support of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this vision is getting closer every day,” Vilsack added.

Information released by the USDA shows that 21 projects were selected to receive funding under the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation Grant Program, which was launched in 2020 and provides funding for grants to install thermally led community wood energy systems or to build innovative wood product manufacturing facilities. Among the 21 projects selected for funding are:

Southeast Conference—Ketchikan, Alaska: $903,100 to support the Southeast Alaska containerized pellet mill plan

City of Nenana—Nenana, Alaska: $689,110 to support the Nenana biomass district heat system

San Carlos Apache Tribe—San Carlos, Arizona: $1 million to support the San Carlos Apache Tribe wood energy system, lumber dry kiln and planing mill

Tuolumne Biomass LLC and Heartwood Biomass LLC—Chinese Camp, California: $800,000 for support innovative biomass utilization in Tuolumne County, California

Aemetis Advanced Products Riverbank Inc.—Riverbank, California: $642,077 to support small, commercial-scale production of “carbon zero” biofuels from forest biomass

Northstar Community Services District—Truckee, California: $1 million to support the Northstar Community Services District biomass energy system

Alpenglow Timber LLC—Truckee, California: $911,000 to support thermal wood energy to support new sawmill project

Pagosa Forest Products LLC—Pagosa Springs, Colorado: $730,993 to support a briquette and biochar manufacturing facility

Mala Mills—Little Falls, Minnesota: $884,449 to support a waste bark to energy biomass burner project

Continuum at North Conway LLC—North Conway, New Hampshire: $1 million to support the Ridgeline Assisted Living Community Wood Chip fueled district heating and cooling plant

Mt. Bachelor LLC—Bend, Oregon: $1.5 million to showcase advanced wood energy at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort

Iron Triangle LLC—John Day, Oregon: $572,170 to support the Iron Triangle wood waste to energy project

Nicolet Hardwoods Corp.—Laona, Wisconsin: $580,633 to support a biomass energy project


An additional 78 projects were selected for funding under the Wood Innovation Grants Program. Launched in 2015, the program stimulates and expands wood products and wood energy markets. Among the 78 projects selected to receive 2022 program funding are:

Alaska Energy Authority—Anchorage, Alaska: $112,500 for a biomass system training and audit program

Joe Dirt Excavating Inc.—Williams, Arizona: $250,000 for woody biomass/wood biomass dryer, grinder and briquette machine

University of California Berkeley—Berkeley, California: $102,529 for tools to forest biofuels market development in California

North Fork Lumber Co.—Korbel, California: $250,000 for 5-megawatt (MW) biomass cogeneration design and permitting

University of California—Merced, California: $207,361 to develop natural fiber insulation material from forest biochar for sustainable fire-resistant buildings

Yosemite Clean Energy LLC—Oroville, California: $250,000 for engineering to support development of a wood waste to biofuel gasification plant in Northern Sierra Nevada

Earth Foundries Inc.—Saratoga, California: $250,000 for SF Bay area targeted biochar marketing strategy implementation

Takachar Ltd.—Ukiah, California: $100,000 to support reducing the logistical barriers for utilizing non-merchantable wood as renewable biofuels and bioproducts

Mount Lassen Power Inc.—Westwood, California: $250,000 for Mount Lassen Power Wood Energy Expansion—biomass power plant restart project

Yale University—New Haven, Connecticut: $133,167 to support a multi-stakeholder dialogue and analysis initiative on the impacts, benefits and challenges of bioenergy from forests

Roberts Energy Renewables Inc.—Ashfield, Massachusetts: $250,000 to support the Ashfield Combined Biochar and Power Facility

Maine Woods Co.—Portage, Maine: $250,000 to support high steam energy from wood biomass residuals           

Biocultural Connections—The Climate Conservancy—Mora, New Mexico: $57,101 to support biomass energy in the wildland-urban

Brookside Lumber Inc.—Moravia, New York: $151,130 to support a Heizomat wood chip boiler installation with integrated Cyclone/ESP emission control for kiln drying and heating of sawmill buildings

Red Rock Biofuels Holdings Inc.—Klamath Falls, Oregon: $244,700 for the conversion of post-fire charred waste woody biomass to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel

Heartwood Biomass LLC—Wallowa, Oregon: $236,740 to support a project titled Stacking Value: Connecting forest restoration, biochar, heat and carbon

Virginia Department of Forestry—Charlottesville, Virginia: $250,000 for expanding new markets for biochar via collaboration and project demonstration

University of California Davis—Pullman, Washington: $250,000 for prototype biochar permeable interlocking concrete pavers from low-value slash piles          


Full lists of funded projects can be found on the U.S. Forest Service website