The goal of bioenergy is to explore the potential to utilize woody biomass (i.e., wood residues such as tree limbs, tree tops, brush and other material derived from forest vegetation such as small diameter trees) to support a bioenergy industry that benefits rural communities — specifically those in the northern Rocky Mountain forests in Idaho, western Montana and the forested areas of eastern Washington and Oregon.
Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: Socioeconomic Impacts of Wood-Based Biofuels Development Strategies on Northern Rocky Mountain Communities in the Northwest Grant #2012-00948.
The Community Outreach Team gathered input from regional stakeholders to better understand the economic and political context for biofuel development. Community expertise helped guide researchers as they developed scenarios involving harvest, processing and transportation options for use in mathematical models and simulations. These scenarios will address community and industry priorities and help local, state and regional stakeholders make informed decisions.
The Economic Impact Team analyzed the regional and local economic impacts of the alternative scenarios and methods of alternative bioenergy production using woody biomass. Researchers used the following methods:
- Identify potential sub-regions of bio-energy harvest, production and distribution
- Examine how incomes will be affected by biofuels development (social accounting matrix (SAM) input/output model)
- Forecast potential effects of biofuel development on local economies using the input/output model
- Compare benefits and tradeoffs of each production method
- Steve Peterson (College of Business and Economics)
The Regional Optimization Modeling Team assessed the feasibility of various options for bioenergy production using woody biomass. The team developed a nonlinear optimization model to evaluate scenarios using different production technologies, varying fuel product pricing and varying levels of production subsidies. Analysis will determine which scenario will produce bioenergy for the least cost and most profitability.
- Stephen Devadoss (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology)
- Eli Kosse (graduate student, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology)
The Simulation and Modeling Team developed a model to determine the overall viability and profitability of bioenergy strategies for woody biomass from the community perspective. Models mapped each scenario from source to point of sale and potential benefits of each scenario and variables such as transportation options and potential processing facility locations.
USDA Grants Support Sustainable Bioenergy Production (December 2012 press release)
Publications and Reports
- Project Overview (pdf)
- Executive Summary (pdf)
- Project Narrative (pdf)
- Factsheet (pdf)
- Keefe, R., Anderson, N., Hogland, J. and K. Muhlenfeld (2014). Woody Biomass Logistics (Ch. 14). In: Karlen, D., Editor. Cellulosic Energy Cropping Systems. John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118676332.ch14. pp. 251-279 https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2014_keefe_r001.pdf
- Kosse, E., S. Devadoss, R. Jacobson, and R. Keefe. (2016). Alternative fuel production and distribution from woody biomass in the Inland Northwest: A profit analysis. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Idaho.
- Jacobson, R., R. Keefe, A. Smith, S. Metlen, D. Saul, S. Newman, T. Laninga, and D. Inman (2016). Multi-spatial analysis of forest residue utilization for bioenergy. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. doi:10.1002/bbb.1659 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bbb.1659/full
- Jacobson, Ryan. (2015). Spatially Explicit Simulation Modeling of Local, Regional and International Bioenergy Scenarios in the Northern Rockies (M.S. Thesis, Natural Resources, University of Idaho). http://vivo.nkn.uidaho.edu/individual/T201510790
- University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources (2013). Biomass Research on the University of Idaho Experimental Forest. Promotional video highlighting the monocable winch methods developed and evaluated in this grant. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yXU9wdEv98
- Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rocky Mountains (BANR)
- Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA)
- Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest
- Regional Biomass Research Centers
- University of Idaho Biomass-fueled Boiler
- Burgeoning Biomass: Creating efficient and Sustainable Forest Biomass Supply Chains in the Rockies
- USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
- Idaho Governor’s Office of Energy Resources, Statewide Wood Energy Team
- Idaho Energy Collaborative
- Centennial Energy Wood Biomass Pellet Mill Project (St. Maries, Idaho)
- Fuels for Schools and Beyond