Colorado Moves On Biomass Ventures

Following up on a previous post announcing the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture funding 30 projects in 14 states totaling $57 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Wood-To-Energy and biomass utilization, Colorado initiatives recently received $250,000 each to: Help convert wood collected during wildfire- and pine-beetle mitigation efforts for a prison boiler […]

Following up on a previous post announcing the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture funding 30 projects in 14 states totaling $57 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Wood-To-Energy and biomass utilization, Colorado initiatives recently received $250,000 each to:

  • Help convert wood collected during wildfire- and pine-beetle mitigation efforts for a prison boiler in Florence.
  • Augment Colorado Springs Utilities’ coal-fired facility.
  • Fuel Boulder County Open Space and Parks’ biomass heating system.
  • Fund grinding, hauling and processing for Confluence Energy’s wood-pellet facility in Kremmling.

Colorado and much of the Intermountain West are reeling from major pine beetle infestations that stretch along the Rockies into southern Canada. Biomass advocates are looking to the dead trees as a potential source of raw feedstock for biofuel applications, and hope to jump-start wood energy and biomass utilization ventures in the state.

In other Colorado wood-to-energy news, Colorado State University recently announced a partnership with the Colorado State Forest Service to install a biomass boiler heating plant on the Foothills Campus to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy costs.

The heating plant will burn wood chips rather than rely solely on natural gas to provide hot water for a research complex. The boiler is rated at 1.5 million BTU/hr., large enough to burn more than 1,300 tons of wood chips each year produced from forest fire mitigation projects. According to Carol Dollard, energy engineer at Colorado State, wood chips cost about half the price of natural gas, resulting in a savings of approximately $60,000 in utility costs annually at CSU.

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