Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wood Energy Resources

With the high cost of energy today many folks are considering using wood as their primary source of heat.  Many homes and some schools in Pennsylvania have already installed wood fired boilers that now provide all their heating needs and possibly their hot water needs as well.  Pennsylvania has a sizeable energy resource in its forests. If this energy source is going to be developed it is essential to understand how to harvest trees sustainably with minimal impact on other forest attributes such as soils, water, and wildlife.

Woody biomass resources can be utilized in a number of ways; firewood for residential heating, pelletizing, combined heat and power, or wood based ethanol are just some of the current alternatives.  Pennsylvania’s forests and land resource base has considerable potential to produce woody biomass for energy.  But, many factors will affect how much and how effectively this resource can be utilized:
1.  Understanding the different ways wood resources can be utilized, for example in pellets, in district heat and power projects, or as wood ethanol;
2.  Development of potential resources with minimal impacts on other wood product industries;
3.  Understanding the sustainable forestry practices associated with harvesting trees for woody biomass;
4.  Land ownership issues and the economic returns to harvesting are critical consideration.

Mike Jacobson, associate professor of forest, resources, and Daniel Ciolkosz, extension associate, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering both at Penn state University prepared a publication entitled A Primer on Woody Biomass Energy for Forest Landowners.

Maryland Extension Service has also created a number of great wood energy resources that you may find useful as well:
The Wood Stove Checklist
Buying and Storing Firewood & Pellets
Buying a Second Hand Wood Stove
Buying a Clean Burning Wood Stove
Considerations for your Wood or Pellet Stove Installation
Heating with Wood

1 comment:

Solar Power Solutions said...

Good post. And aside from wood, solar panels are good sources as well. Both are truly efficient sources of energy.