U. S. Forest Service Funds BAC Member Projects
The U.S. Forest Service has awarded funding to three BAC members – Arbor Energy, Mote, and West Biofuels – for projects that will convert forest waste to bioenergy. All three projects will use advanced technology to convert forest waste to electricity and fuels, helping to beneficially re-use forest biomass that must be removed to reduce wildfire hazards and restore healthy, more resilient forests. California and the Forest Service entered into a Forest Stewardship Agreement in 2021 that requires forest thinning on one million acres per year, which will generate tens of millions of tons of forest waste. Converting that waste biomass to energy instead of piling and burning it provides enormous benefits for air quality, the climate, rural energy reliability, and economic development. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, converting forest biomass to energy cuts particulate matter, black carbon, methane, and carbon monoxide emissions by 98 percent compared to open burning.
The U.S. Forest Service has provided several rounds of funding from its Wood Innovation Grant program to promote utilization of waste biomass and further forest restoration and sustainable rural economies. The grants just announced include four grants to BAC members:
- Arbor Energy – Gasification of forest biomass in Placer County
- Mote – Conversion of forest biomass to carbon negative hydrogen
- West Biofuels – Two forest biomass to community-scale electricity projects in Mariposa and Hat Creek (Shasta County)