Forest Benefits

Woody biomass refers to both forest biomass and mill residuals.

  • Forest biomass: the “left-overs” in the woods after harvesting – tops, limbs, defect, or small-diameter trees and other low-value material (slash)
  • Mill residuals: the by-products of wood products manufacturing such as shavings, sawdust, and clean wood chips.

Build-up of this material invites disease outbreaks and insect infestations. It also poses a wildfire hazard. Millions of acres of Oregon's forests are at high risk of damaging fires due to excess biomass. 

Creating val​ue from waste

As a low-value byproduct of forestry or manufacturing, the use of biomass adds value and turns waste into products that support communities, improve forest health, and provide renewable energy.​

Woody biomass is already being made into a wide variety of renewable energy products including electricity, steam, hot water, wood pellets, wood bricks, commercial firewood, compressed fire logs, and charcoal. Other renewable energy and bio-based products, such as liquid transportation fuels and biochar, continue to emerge.​

The biomass multi-tool​

Biomass use and businesses benefit forests and rural communities alike. Like the proverbial Swiss Army knife, biomass use can do many positive things. When markets are strong, biomass-based businesses can:

  • Create jobs in rural communities by growing new biomass-based businesses using sustainable, renewable local resources. Targeted grants and loans are helping catalyze new biomass businesses, projects, and products.
  • Expand economic capacity and help make existing wood products businesses more resilient by finding a home for what was previously a waste and a cost.
  • Help restore federal forests by creating new economic outlets for materials from forest health treatments. Viable markets for small trees and biomass decrease costs while advancing the pace and scale of forest restoration treatments.
  • Remove juniper and improve rangeland habitat. Viable juniper markets reduce the costs of treatments to improve sage grouse habitat and reduce the risk of fire. 

Biomass grant resources

ODF offers competitive grants for forest biomass as a way to help offset that risk, as well as to jumpstart new uses.

Grant offerings typically provide support for early-stage project development, such as project feasibility, design, and engineering; grants are not provided for capital construction funding or on-going facility operations/maintenance. 

  • Geographic availability: limited to Grant, Union, Wallowa, Umatilla and Baker counties
  • Eligibility: available to public, private, and non-profit entities
  • Match requirement: minimum 25 percent match required
  • Eligible use of funds: feasibility, design, engineering for biomass utilization
  • Amount awarded to date: $170,000 awarded to nine entities since 2013
  • Funding source: USDA Forest Service​
​​​
  • Geographic availability: statewide
  • Eligibility: available to public, private, and non-profit entities
  • Match requirement: minimum 25 percent match required
  • Eligible use of funds: feasibility, design, engineering for biomass energy projects
  • Amount awarded to date: none.  $150,00​​0 available
  • Funding source: USDA Forest Service
 
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Photo of wood chips

Resources

Statewide Wood Energy Team

Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group​

Contact
Marcus Kauffman
Biomass Resource Specialist
Phone: 541-580-7480