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: Fuel to burn : economics of converting forest thinnings to energyusing BioMax in southern Oregon

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. FPL-GTR-157. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 27 p.

Author(s)Bilek, E.M. (Ted); Skog, Kenneth E.; Fried, Jeremy; Christensen, Glenn

Publication Year: 2005  View PDF »

 View Excel - Worksheet »

 View Zip - Publication and Excel Worksheet »

Category: General Technical Reports

Abstract: Small-scale gasification plants that generate electrical energy from forest health thinnings may have the potential to deliver substantial amounts of electricity to the national grid. We evaluated the economic feasibility of two sizes of BioMax, a generator manufactured by the Community Power Corporation of Littleton, Colorado. At current avoided- cost electricity prices in Oregon, it would not be economical to operate a small-scale (100-kW) BioMax without a subsidy or tax credit, even if fuel were delivered to the plant at a forest landing at no cost. Given a tax credit, a 1,000-kW system could be operated profitably. If it were possible to sell merchantable logs (removed as part of forest health treatments) for an average of $175/thousand board feet, most acres on gentle slopes in southern Oregon would provide net operating surpluses. Most steeply sloped acres would generate operating deficits. If merchantable timber were sold separately, biomass from forest health thinnings on timberland in 15 western states could potentially provide from 2.3 to 14.3 billion kWh of electricity to the national grid. Our results suggest that if a forest landing is located near an existing power line, distributed energy generation is an option that may be worth considering.

Keywords: Break-even analysis; wood gasification; small diameter timber; forest health treatment; economic evaluation

File size: 2 kb(s)

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 17461
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Bilek, Ted
Skog, Kenneth E.
Supervisory Research Forester

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 »