Public Invited to Workshops on Tool Supporting Sustainable Biomass Energy Industry

Forest Biomass Calculator helps assess long-term viability of forests
Sep 30, 2013

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in partnership with the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (UW SEFS) will be holding four technical workshops on how to use the web-based Washington State Biomass Calculator – a tool for emerging sustainable energy businesses.

The Washington State Biomass Calculator serves those interested in developing biomass facilities or for landowners interested in supplying forest biomass to such facilities in Washington State. It was developed by researchers at UW SEFS in collaboration with TSS Consultants in 2012.

DNR, in partnership with UW SEFS, is offering hands-on technical training to prospective biomass investors, forest landowners and managers, and the general public at workshops across the state this October. Participants will receive an overview of the Biomass Calculator, with hands-on instruction in the use of the web-based tool. Wireless internet will be available at all workshops, allowing participants to walk through the tool’s functions and examine trial scenarios with the instructor. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops or tablets to take full advantage of this unique opportunity.

The calculator can be found online at http://wabiomass.cfr.washington.edu/

Workshops Schedule

Olympia

October 1 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Natural Resources Building – Room 172

1111 Washington Street SE

Olympia, WA 98504

Everett

October 3 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Everett Community College

Jackson Conference Center – Scoop Conference Room 107

2000 Tower Street

Everett, WA 98201

Spokane

October 9 from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Spokane Public Library – Room 1A

906 West Main Avenue

Spokane, WA 99201

Ellensburg

October 10 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Hal Holmes Center Office – Kittitas Room

209 N Ruby St

Ellensburg, WA 98926

Web link

For more information on the Biomass Calculator, please visit http://1.usa.gov/19PfpLe

Background

Biomass energy is generated from biomass fuels. Forest biomass is the volume of slash produced as a byproduct of a forest operation. This includes everything generated as part of the timber harvest process including tops, live and dead branches, foliage, and breakage and defect associated with stem volume.

The Washington Forest Biomass Supply Assessment examines the sustainable volume of residual forest biomass that can be collected from Washington’s working forests. The study will help ensure that the State’s forest biomass-to-energy sector moves forward sustainably and at a supply-appropriate scale.

Because the Biomass Supply Assessment is a snapshot in time, the study team was asked to develop a tool that could, based on the modeling done in the study, predict biomass availability over time, at specific locations across the state and at certain haul distances and price points. The calculator will help determine the long-term availability of material at a given location for a proposed, existing, or hypothetical facility. If more than one facility is selected in the calculator, they will be compared with one another, resulting in biomass being sent to the facility that provides the highest return to the landowner.

Forest Biomass at DNR

In 2009, the legislature authorized DNR to implement biomass energy pilot projects in eastern and western Washington. Removing biomass feedstock in ecologically sustainable ways to produce energy (liquid fuels or heat and electricity) can:

Provide income for forest landowners while improving forest health

Create rural jobs

Reduce wildfires and greenhouse gas emissions

Aid in the production of renewable energy

 

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