Concern over energy security and the greenhouse gases emissions associated with burning fossil fuels has led to increased national interest in bioenergy production. In the United States, adoption of a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires domestic production of renewable fuels to increase from 14 billion gallons per year (according to the Renewable Fuels Association) to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. Woody biomass could be a significant component of an RFS portfolio. Woody biomass is collected from logging residue, forest thinning, and small diameter timber. These forest products can be sustainably harvested, and are predictable and reliable in terms of production. Woody biomass has potential to become a primary bioenergy feedstock for heat and co-fire power plants as well as cellulosic-derived biofuels. The QUESTION remains how much and what kind of woody biomass can be sustainability supplied, where is this likely to occur, and at what price will woody biomass products be available?


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