Nebraska Forest Service Hopes Grants Stoke Use Of Wood As Fuel

The Nebraska Forest Service says it is offering up to $200,000 to assist business, charities and governments with converting their buildings to heating systems capable of burning wood. “The grants will help cover the upfront costs of installing wood-fueled energy systems,” said Adam Smith, who heads the forest products utilization effort at the forest service. […]

The Nebraska Forest Service says it is offering up to $200,000 to assist business, charities and governments with converting their buildings to heating systems capable of burning wood.

“The grants will help cover the upfront costs of installing wood-fueled energy systems,” said Adam Smith, who heads the forest products utilization effort at the forest service. “Historically there has been a lack of capital assistance for the development and installation of these energy systems.” Using what Smith calls abundant supplies of wood waste can save up to 50 percent on utility costs, he said. Funding for the program originated from the Wildfire Control Act of 2013, which calls for the development of markets for woody biomass generated from forest thinnings.

There might be ample prospects among building managers throughout the state. There are at least 300 boilers in Nebraska that are part of aging heating systems that need replacing, according to the Nebraska Labor Department’s boiler inspection service. “We have already had a lot of interest,” Smith said. “We are excited about it.”

Applications must be received by the forest service by Oct. 31, Smith said. Smith also said energy produced from wood boilers currently heats two Nebraska colleges, the Arbor Day’s Lied Lodge and Conference Center, many small manufacturing facilities, and is used to dry and pelletize alfalfa for animal feed.

“Extensive renovations are generally not required,” Smith said. In most cases, he said, much of an old heating system’s guts can remain, with the addition of a boiler capable of heating water via wood burning. He said he the forest service envisions its best prospects among schools, hospitals, prisons, city buildings and nursery and greenhouse operations.

From Omaha.com: http://www.omaha.com/money/nebraska-hopes-grants-stoke-use-of-wood-as-fuel/article_99b4da01-1a20-556f-9016-4adeb32ba137.html

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