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