Availability of Woody Biomass for Biofuels in Western North Carolina - N.C. State University
The western third of North Carolina represents a significant opportunity to promote forest management and stewardship, and an opportunity to encourage economic development through the development of a robust cellulosic biofuels industry. NC State University will assess sustainably available woody biomass feedstocks for biofuels production in the westernmost 32 North Carolina counties. This assessment will include softwoods, hardwoods,and soft hardwoods (poplar, gum, etc). Understanding the availability of hardwoods that are considered “soft hardwoods” will help the western region compete for biochemical biofuels projects where soft hardwoods are the preferred feedstocks. Additional value will come from this project’s transportation analyses including railroad and trucking costs from the feedstock origins to the biofuels facilities. The distance from feedstocks to industrial sites will be assumed to be 70 miles or less.
Feedstock resources will include logging residues and standing trees for which existing markets are non-existent or poor. For these site specific studies, NC State will additionally assess sustainability of resources by examining current forest growth versus removals and logging residues generated versus removals. NC State will also document land use change for data available for a five-year period. The analysis of soft-hardwood availability, prices, and delivery costs will provide a model for repeating this analysis in other areas across North Carolina.
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