Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Use of wood energy for lumber drying and community heating in southeast Alaska

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-152. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 14 pages

Author(s)Nicholls, David L.; Zerbe, John I.; Bergman, Richard D.; Crimp, Peter M.

Publication Year: 2004  View PDF »

Category: General Technical Reports

Abstract: The inadequate transportation infrastructure and undeveloped markets for sawmill residues in southeast Alaska are among the factors that limit the use of this forest resource. This study considers the potential use of sawmill residues to supply two bioenergy systems that would produce thermal energy for (1) community heating and (2) a lumber dry kiln in Hoonah, Alaska. The proposed community heating system would be a direct combustion system, burning approximately 1,450 green tons (1.315 green metric kilotons) of wood fuel per year to provide heating for seven centrally located buildings in Hoonah. Additional sawmill residues would be used in another system to provide process heat for a proposed 25,000 board foot (41.3 m3) dry kiln. The Hoonah sawmill typically produces as much as 5 million board feet (8,255 m3) of lumber per year, primarily from western hemlock and Sitka spruce. The processing of this amount of lumber would result in an adequate volume of residue to provide a fuel source for the heating requirements of the proposed projects. Wood residue from the sawmill is assumed to be available at no cost other than for transportation. Use of wood fuel for community heating would save an estimated 65,000 gallons (2.47 kL) of heating oil per year. Avoided fuel costs would be approximately $91,500 per year based on No. 2 fuel oil at a market price of $1.40 per gallon ($0.37 per liter). Based on a project life of 25 years and a contingency rate of 25%, the expected after-tax internal rate of return (IRR) for the community heating portion of the project is 29.6%. Total installed costs for the 1,195,000 Btu/h (350 kWthermal) community heating system, including distribution piping and its installation and backup oil systems, are estimated to be $631,000. For the lumber dry kiln, in the second heat-generating system, economic results were less favorable, with expected energy savings of $82,900 per year and an after-tax IRR of 24.1% (also assuming 25% contingency). Estimated installed cost of the 1,536,000 Btu/h (450 kWthermal) dry kiln system with a backup oil system is $513,800.

Keywords: Biomass, wood energy, lumber drying, wood residues, sawmill, Alaska

File size: 403 kb(s)

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 12460
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Bergman, Richard
Research Forest Products Technologist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »