The Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Program at Colorado State University received a $65,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to expand the use of woody biomass throughout Colorado.
The purpose of the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program is to provide financial assistance to state foresters to accelerate the adoption of woody biomass as an alternative energy source.
Kurt Mackes, assistant professor with the Department of Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Stewardship at Colorado State, and Tim Reader, utilization and marketing forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, submitted a grant proposal on "Jump Starting Colorado’s Wood-to-Energy Economy Using Forest Biomass."
"Funding made available through this grant will allow us to expand our ability to address current forest health conditions, protect municipal watersheds and complement hazardous fuels reduction work being done through Community Wildfire Protection Plans, the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership and the Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative," said Reader.
Due to its potential applications, woody biomass utilization can provide significant social and economic benefits to Coloradans. For example, a recent Colorado State University study concludes that wood-to-energy applications could reduce hazardous fuels treatment costs in the wildland-urban interface by as much as $300-$500 per acre.
Funding provided by this grant will be used to deliver credible information on woody biomass supply, wood-to-energy technologies, economic feasibility, and policy and legislative initiatives.
"Forest biomass can play an important role in supporting Gov. Ritter’s Renewable Energy Initiative designed to jump-start Colorado’s efforts to become a national leader in renewable energy development," said Mackes. "Funding provided through this grant can help address the major challenges that come with harvesting, processing, transporting and marketing Colorado’s forest biomass."