Biomass is biological material that comes from living, or recently living organisms. The term biomass most often refers to plants, or plant-based materials. The biomass material can be used directly, via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly, after being converted to various forms of biofuel. The largest biomass energy source to date is wood, such as branches, dead trees, wood chips and yard clippings.
Biomass includes plant or animal matter that can be converted into fibers or other industrial chemicals, including biofuels. Crops specifically grown for use as fuel are used to produce plant energy. Examples of these crops are wheat and straw. Grain can be used for liquid transportation fuels while straw can be used to produce electricity or heat. Plant biomass can be converted from cellulose to glucose and the result would be the first generation of biofuel, sugar.
Conducting a biomass harvest is the removal of more woody material from a site that would be removed under a typical harvest. Biomass harvesting is often conducted in addition to timber harvesting on the same site, either in conjunction with the current harvest or soon after.
A biomass harvest could also be conducted on sites where a harvest is not occurring. Biomass utilizes the tops and limbs from trees harvested in an operation and small diameter trees, or stems, which have historically been “non-merchantable” material. These materials are items like dead trees, down and dead woody material, and brush.
A biomass harvest provides an opportunity to manage forest lands, brush land, open habitats and can provide a source of renewable products, such as fuel. There are many functions for removing biomass from a site. Those include:
Overcrowded forests and timber managed properties are prone to insect, disease, drought and fire damage. Thinning these forests can help reduce the risks, but the process can be costly. Transporting the material left behind from thinning to a biomass facility is an excellent way to minimize costs and help increase the life of your property. Other usable forms of energy like ethanol, biodiesel or methane gas can be created from biomass. Crops like sugar cane and corn can be fermented to produce ethanol, a transportation fuel. Biodiesel can be produced from left-over food products like vegetable oils and animal fats.
Columbia Timber Company has extensive experience in harvesting reliable biomass fuel supplies. We offer assistance during the entire procurement process from creating contracts to the delivery of biomass to the facility. We are always happy to answer any questions about biomass and biomass harvesting. Our expert staff will visit your property and help establish if there is sufficient biomass available to be harvested, what the process for biomass harvesting is and keep you updated from start to finish of the project. The process will minimize environmental impact to your property while maximizing your revenue.