University of California
Woody Biomass Utilization

Woody Biomass Resource Library


Woody biomass comprises residues of the wood processing industry, post-consumer woody waste materials and agricultural residues in addition to material arising from forest management or fuels reduction activities.

Forest biomass consists of small-diameter woody material, damaged or low-valued trees, the branches (slash) and diseased or insect infested wood. This material represents a huge untapped biomass resource and it's removal could improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Much of the forest biomass resource is not currently utilized due to it's poor physical properties and therefore relatively low value.  The expense of removal and transportation further reduces it's appeal as a raw material.  Developing more markets and processing technologies to use this material would help to recover some of the cost of ecosystem restoration and fuels reduction projects.

The challenges for using woody biomass are many and the economic opportunities limited. Although there is a long list of products that could be produced from woody biomass there are often competing raw materials to make these products that are of higher quality and lower cost.  The solutions to providing more opportunities for woody biomass are to encourage the use in efficient energy conversion facilities (power plants, heat and power systems, etc.), use small diameter trees in their round form instead of trying to produce lumber, support the research and development needed to encourage investment in higher value fiber uses for composite materials (such as composite panels and wood fiber/plastic products), and continue the search for cost-effective chemical processing to biofuels and other organic chemicals.

For further information see The Resource and Utilization Technology.  Further pages on technologies coming soon!

Over stocked forest
Over stocked forest

Fire salvage woody biomass from the Eldorado National Forest
Fire salvage woody biomass from the Eldorado National Forest

Slash bundler processing biomass after thinning, Sefton Coast, UK
Slash bundler processing biomass after thinning, Sefton Coast, UK

A selection of publications and Infoguides produced by or in association with the Woody Biomass Group and its collaborators is provided below. For the full library of articles, please visit the Publications, Reports, & Presentations page.

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Woody Biomass Utilization Biomass Energy California grant power electricity forest products biomass wood pellets pyrolysis

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