Bioenergy Opportunities from Southern Forests

Bioenergy Opportunities from Southern Forests

Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from biological sources, such as woody biomass, agricultural sources (corn, sorghum, switchgrass, etc.) or algae. Bioenergy is really nothing new, in that humans have always used biological sources for energy to cook, heat and for light.  Considerable emphasis is being put forth to develop and utilize existing and new biomass sources for bioenergy.  For foresters, landowners, and communities, this is good news, as woody biomass is a strong candidate for bioenergy. Southern Regional Extension Forestry staff and our land-grant partners are working on educational projects and technologies for many stakeholders. 

One particular project is the Southeastern Integrated Biomass Supply System or IBSS (www.se-ibss.org). IBSS’ goals are to demonstrate real-world solutions towards economically and environmentally sustainable production and conversion of biomass-to-biofuels in the Southeastern United States. This project, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, includes several universities, private industry and research laboratories and SREF. IBSS focuses on all aspects of the biofuels industry, from growth of biofuel feedstocks to conversion (biomass-to-biofuels), and creation of the workforce to support the industry. IBSS’s Extension, Education and Outreach Team will be releasing several educational products in the coming years. 

Another key regional effort is being undertaken by North Carolina State University’s forestry Extension unit.  They are leading an innovative effort called FiberAnalytics (go.ncsu.edu/fiberanalytics).  This program is uniquely qualified to assist public and private clients with detailed assessments that meet specific biomass inventory and citing needs.  FiberAnalytics’ resource supply assessments can be useful for recruiting industry, determining the feasibility of capital investments, examining sustainable harvest levels, establishing a biofuels or bio power industry, and providing information for policy development and evaluation. 

These are just a few of the Extension bioenergy projects undertaken here in the south.  Please visit our project pages to find out more information about these and other efforts designed to promote a sustainable bioenergy community here in the Southern United States.

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