Biomass for New Uses
Non-traditional products manufactured from biomass
The range of traditional uses associated with wood-based products, such as home construction and papermaking, is being expanded to include new products and services such as electric power and heat, new chemical feedstocks, and alternative fuels for heating and transportation.
Government policies and market forces are leading to growth in use of wood and other “cellulosic biomass” as feedstocks for renewable energy and materials. The use of forest biomass as a fuel for electrical power generation is increasing in regions with increasing feedstock availability, in light of renewable electricity standards and climate change-related policy implementation. Use of wood pellets and other forest-derived biomass for energy in industrial and residential applications has been increasing in Western Europe for several years, and has begun to expand in North America as well. Although biorefineries that utilize cellulosic biomass to produce ethanol and other liquid fuels are in their infancy, they are expected to demonstrate commercial viability over time. The trend therefore suggests industrial-scale manufacturing of an increasing number of non-traditional products.
Expanding the use of woody biomass for new uses hinges on: (i) demonstration of the technical and economic viability of these new uses; and (ii) management of environmental aspects associated with the combustion and other processing of wood in new and/or different applications. Priority topics in this area of NCASI’s program include effects of these new production processes on water quality, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Related NCASI Resources
- NCASI Technical Comments – European Commission Study on the Environmental Implications of the Increased Reliance of the European Union on Biomass for Energy Imported from North America (NCASI Corporate Correspondent Memorandum No. 15-014, October 23, 2015)
- List of studies on woody biomass for power generation (August 28, 2015)
- Examination of the United Kingdom Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC ) scenarios and calculations of the life cycle GHG benefits of producing electricity in the UK from pellets made from North American forest biomass (NCASI memo, August 13, 2015)
- Quantifying the Environmental Releases Associated with the Integration of Bioenergy and Wood Products Manufacturing Operations – A Case Study Approach (NCASI White Paper, July 2015)
- List of key references on biomass harvesting (March 27, 2014)
- Beneficial Use of Wood Biomass for Energy and Other Purposes (NCASI Technical Bulletin No. 994, December 2011)