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45 case studies of wood-to-energy systems


October 14, 2009
By Canadian Biomass

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Oct. 14, 2009, Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities has announced the completion of 45 case studies of “best-in-class” community-scale wood-to-energy systems selected from projects across Canada, Europe, and the United States.

Oct. 14, 2009, Greenville, SC – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry
and Communities has announced the completion of 45 case studies of “best-in-class”
community-scale wood-to-energy systems selected from projects across Canada,
Europe, and the United States. The case studies illustrate the development and
experiences of biomass facilities in many different applications and provide
evidence that local biomass feedstocks are a technically and financially viable
fuel source. They also provide a deeper understanding of how woody biomass is
being used in institutional settings.

Modern wood-to-energy systems are capable of burning a wide
variety of organic materials. Among those addressed in the case studies are
systems that use wood chips, pellets, and cordwood. The type of system used is
determined by the need of the institution and the availability of a local wood
supply.

Biomass for heat is more common in Europe than elsewhere; whole
towns and villages obtain heat and hot water from district heating. District
heating generates energy from a centralized biomass facility and distributes
the heat to users via underground pipes. Although incentives exist for
transitioning from fossil fuel to wood in other countries, in Sweden
“incentives aren’t needed. District heating pays off.”

“We believe the case-studies provide valuable insight into the
range and flexibility of modern community-scale wood energy applications around
the world,” says Christopher Recchia, executive director of Biomass Energy
Resources Center (BERC) of Vermont. BERC led the development of the case
studies. Project sponsors included forest industry and resource agencies and
federal natural resources agencies: American Forest and Paper Association,
Forest Products Association of Canada, USDA Forest Service, and Natural
Resources Canada.

The larger project will include a review of the state of the
science of wood-to-energy conversion and a North America-wide database of woody
biomass users at the community and industrial scales.


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