The Consultant - 2007 - (Page 29)

CONSULTANT’S FORUM Woody Biomass for Energy – Has Its Time Come? BY DOUG WILLIAMS, CF HE USE OF woody biomass for energy is not a new concept. In the United States, the wood industry has been using large quantities of industrial wood waste to generate heat and steam. The forest products industry already utilizes bioenergy to supply 50 percent of the energy it uses. There is a national dialogue focused on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. There are many examples: Willie Nelson’s promotion of B20 biodiesel; the Indy Racing League replacing methanol with ethanol as its mandated fuel by 2007; and the Virgin Group targeting use of ethanol jet fuel in all four of its airlines. Renewable energy is described as a means to address national security, protecting the environment and continued prosperity of rural America. But are we serious enough and advanced enough in our technology to challenge a conversion from our oil dependency? The Association of Consulting Foresters was the first forestry organization to endorse the 25x25 Initiative mentioned in the President’s last State of the Union. Many forestry groups have since signed on. The goal of the initiative is to utilize renewable resources for 25 percent of the nation’s energy by the year 2025. Other benefits also would be realized. Six percent of the U.S. energy supply already comes from renewable energy, with almost half coming from biomass. Biomass is abundant, renewable, carbon-neutral and is our only sustainable source of hydrocarbons. In the short term, it can fill the gap between energy demands and available petroleum supplies. In the mid-term it can improve cost and efficiency of corn ethanol and biodiesel, and in the long term it could be the renewable source of hydrogen. The agriculture sector is well on its way and has increased domestic ethanol production, with 101 plants currently operating and another 37 under construction. Demand continues to grow. Forty percent of gasoline today contains some ethanol. Corn consumption for ethanol is expected to reach 2.15 billion bushels next year, up from 1.6 billion this year and 1.32 billion in the 2004-05 season. Ethanol production margins are looking favorable, and growers may see a .50 cent per bushel price increase during the coming crop year. Bioenergy from corn has the potential to displace 10 to 20 percent of our gasoline; soybeans, fats and greases (the largest source of biodiesel) have the potential to displace 5 to 10 percent of our diesel consumption. But at some point the use of agricul29 T Doug Williams THE CONSULTANT 2007 http://www.acf-foresters.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Consultant - 2007

Executive Director’s Message Embracing Change
President’s Message Meeting the Challenge of the Fragmenting Forest
Forest Fragmentation
Parcelization: Different Owners, Different Practices
The New Generation of Private Forest Landowners: Brace for Change
Struggles Facing Wisconsin’s Professional Loggers
Saving Our Forests from a Fragmented Future
Selling the Business: Sequential Planning Versus Parallel Planning
A Survey of Consulting Forestry Education in Accredited Forestry Programs
Returning the American Chestnut to Our Forests
Woody Biomass for Energy – Has Its Time Come?
Meet the New ACF President
ACF Education Committee Looks to the Future
Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens Receives American Chestnut
Mississippi ACF/SAF Student Challenge
ACF National Conference Reflections
Harry Murphy: A Life in Consultation

The Consultant - 2007

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