Brashaw Takes the Helm of Forest Products Marketing Unit

The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) welcomes Brian Brashaw to the position of Program Manager for the Forest Products Marketing Unit (FPMU). He took the helm in early May.

Brashaw comes to the Forest Service from the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), where he served as Program Manager. In that role, he led a highly successful technology development and transfer group that helped a wide range of wood products businesses in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Through the NRRI, Brashaw has had a long, productive relationship with the Forest Products Laboratory in the areas of nondestructive evaluation of wood materials, utilization of urban wood waste, and timber bridges. Brashaw has a BS in Forest Management from UW-Stevens Point, a MS in Materials Science from Washington State University, and a PhD in Forest Resources from Mississippi State University. His educational and career path were established living in Wisconsin’s Nicolet National Forest as a youth with goals in forestry and forest products.

“Under Brian’s leadership, the FPMU will help ensure healthy, sustainable forests that are more resilient to disturbances by creating high-value, high-volume markets from woody biomass,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Products Laboratory and Northern Research Station.

Since 1996, the FPMU has maintained a strong partnership with State and Private Forestry and other mission areas of the Forest Service. With its emphasis on technology transfer, the FPMU helps accelerate forest restoration, improve economic conditions, expand wood utilization and marketing opportunities, improve economic conditions, and create new jobs.

Forest biomass cleanup

Forest biomass cleanup

“It has been a dream of mine, growing up in the north woods of Wisconsin, to have the opportunity to work with the U.S. Forest Service.  It is an honor to be a part of this great organization,” said Brashaw.

FPL is excited to have such a qualified and enthusiastic leader on board.

 

Forest Service Announces $5 Million in Grants Proposals sought to expand markets for wood energy and products, provide new jobs

The U.S. Forest Service published a Federal Register Notice seeking proposals to expand wood energy and wood products markets to support sustainable forest management, especially in areas of the country with high wildfire risks.

Even small investments in woody biomass utilization can have substantial impacts. (www.bugwood.org)

Even small investments in woody biomass utilization can have substantial impacts. (www.bugwood.org)

“We must continue to find new, economically valuable ways to use wood,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “The biggest threat to forests is conversion to non-forest use. Harvesting wood can be used to help forest managers protect forests from hazards, such as insects, disease and fire.”

Proposals will be evaluated through the agency’s Wood Innovations program, which will provide roughly $5 million to help successful applicants increase or stimulate markets for wood energy and wood products in a manner which helps enhance forest sustainability while providing useful products and jobs for people.

The funding is available for a diverse range of activities such as completing the final engineering design for a renewable wood energy system or establishing statewide wood energy or wood utilization teams to demonstrating wood as a primary building material in commercial construction.

Bioenergy is the use of organic material, such as materials from forest thinning, residues, agricultural waste or urban wood waste, to generate heating, cooling and/or electricity.

Since 2005, more than 160 grants, typically for individual projects, have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, Tribes, and State and local agencies to improve forest health while creating jobs, green energy, and healthy communities. Since 2013, 16 cooperative agreements with individual states have been awarded to establish Statewide Wood Energy Teams that promote conversion of fossil fuel systems to wood energy for heating, cooling, and electricity.

The deadline for proposals is Jan. 23, 2015. Information on how to apply is available in the notice (link is external).

Today’s announcement also supports objectives identified in the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s recently released Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands managed by the Forest Service contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

Source: U.S. Forest Service Press Release

Wood-to-Energy Projects Wanted: Forest Service Accepting Grant Applications

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking proposals that expand wood energy use and support responsible forest management.

Forest Service grants promote forest restoration by supporting wood-to-energy projects.

The U.S. Forest Service published in the Federal Register the announcement of requests for proposals under the Hazardous Fuels Wood-to-Energy Grant program. The program will provide about $2.8 million to help successful applicants complete the engineering design work needed to apply for public or private loans for construction and long-term financing of wood energy facilities.

In addition, the agency announced $1.7 million in funding availability under the Statewide Wood Energy Team cooperative agreement program inviting public-private teams to seek funding to advance wood energy. Activities may include workshops that provide technical, financial and environmental information, preliminary engineering assessments, and community outreach needed to support development of wood energy projects.

Since 2005, more than 150 Wood-to-Energy grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, Tribes, and State and local agencies to improve forest health, while creating jobs, green energy, and healthy communities. This year, the Wood-to-Energy grant program encourages geographic or sector-based clusters, such as hospitals, prisons, or school campuses, to leverage project similarities to improve economies of scale and expand the use of woody biomass for energy.

For more information visit www.na.fs.fed.us/werc. Applicants may also submit their applications through www.grants.gov. Application deadlines are outlined in the Federal Register notice.

Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program a success

The Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon announced the release of a new report. The Impacts of the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Program in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Arizona evaluates the value of the USDA Forest Service’s Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program in eastern Oregon and eastern Arizona. These areas, according to the University of Oregon, “have extensive public lands, high wildfire risk, and limited biomass businesses.”

Even small investments in woody biomass utilization can have substantial impacts.

Even small investments in woody biomass utilization can have substantial impacts.

The authors (Emily Jane Davis, Anne Mottek Lucas, Yeon-Su Kim, Cassandra Moseley, Max Nielsen-Pincus, and Ted Bilek) analyzed the program’s effects on enterprise and industry capacity, state economies, and acres treated and green tons removed. According to the report released today, “This relatively small ($5 million authorized nationwide annually) program’s most clear accomplishments were its significant contributions to regional biomass processing capacity, which occurred despite challenging market and economic conditions.”

They concluded, “Given the complexities of public land management and associated business development, strategies such as the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program are critical to increasing biomass utilization, but are likely to achieve greater outcomes when incorporated with other tools to improve federal agency and stakeholder capacity, active land management, and long-term industry sustainability.”

In 2013 the U.S. Forest Service awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to 10 small businesses and community groups across the United States. Administered by the FPL Forest Products Marketing Unit, the biomass utilization grants support renewable wood-to-energy projects and expand regional economies through rural development and job creation.

Forest Service Awards Nearly $2.5M for Renewable Energy Projects

Woody biomass from restoration projects can be converted to pellets such as these for use as fuel.

Woody biomass from restoration projects can be converted to pellets such as these for use as fuel.

The 2013 Woody Biomass Utilization Grants are here! U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently announced this year’s recipients, awarding nearly $2.5 million in grants to 10 small businesses and community groups across the United States.

Administered by the FPL Technology Marketing Unit, the biomass utilization grants support renewable wood-to-energy projects and expand regional economies through rural development and job creation.

“These grants help grow new jobs, support clean energy production and improve our local environments, especially in reducing fire threats,” said Tidwell. “Communities from Massachusetts to Alaska will benefit from the program this year.”

Out of the 17 applications received for the 2013 grants, the Forest Service selected 10 small businesses and community groups. According to the requirements, all 10 recipients provided at least 20 percent of the total project cost. Non-federal matching funds total nearly $6.3 million.

The 2013 woody biomass utilization grantees are:

These projects will use woody material removed from forests during restoration work to enhance wildfire prevention and utilize beetle-killed trees. Some grantees will also process woody biomass in bioenergy facilities, producing energy for heating and electricity. Woody Biomass Utilization Grant funds will support planning of such facilities by funding the engineering services needed for final design, permitting, and cost analysis.

In fiscal year 2012, 20 biomass grant awards from the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program were made to support American small businesses and community groups. This $3 million investment leveraged more than $400 million of rural development grants and loan guarantees for various woody biomass facilities. The program has contributed to the treatment of more than 500,000 acres, removing and using nearly 5 million green tons of biomass at an average cost of just $66 per acre. Grantees also reported a combined 1,470 jobs created or retained as a result of the grant awards.

The program helps applicants complete the necessary design work needed to secure public or private investment for construction, and has been active since 2005. Since then, more than 150 grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, tribal groups and local state agencies to improve forest health, while creating jobs, green energy and healthy communities.

# # # #