Biomass gets boost from logging company donation | SierraSun.com

Biomass gets boost from logging company donation

The effort to convert local forest waste into energy is getting kickstarted by California timber company Sierra Pacific Industries, which recently donated $1 million toward the effort.

A collaboration between private business and government officials is working to boost “biomass” energy, which also would help prevent catastrophic wildfires and improve health quality.

“Harvesting this material and using it for energy production rather than having it burn in the open by intentional or unintentional ignition significantly lessens air pollution impacts and yields a number of other overall environmental and public benefits” said Thomas J. Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Control District Officer.

The idea is to transport forest thinnings to nearby biomass energy production facilities. Presently, the Forest Service does not have the resources to transport the material from the forest to a plant so it is either burned, decomposes or would potentially burn in a wildfire.

The group has tasked Placer County Biomass Manager Brett Storey to develop a two-pronged approach: Find the right locations to capture the materials, and make the process economical.

The group is looking into emission credits, carbon trading, government support and other ideas in anticipation of a potential market for the material and the energy it produces in California.

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Several detailed working group meetings are scheduled and the group will reach an agreement on potential projects and direction in early December 2007, with projects slated to be accomplished in the field potentially this year and certainly many more for the next several years.

” Sun staff reports