AF&PA Holds Its First-Ever Biomass Workshop

Sept. 16, 2008 - Bioenergy is a complex issue which requires better, more comprehensive research and analysis if the country is to realize the full potential that domestically-produced bioenergy can bring to combating climate change and seeking energy independence without unnecessarily distorting the fiber markets, states the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA).

That was the message from the economists, technology engineers, and policy experts who gathered at the invitation of AF&PA to participate in the Associationís first-ever bioenergy workshop, held Thursday, September 11 at AF&PA headquarters in Washington and attended by more than 100 Association members.

Summarized highlights of presenters include:

Rocky Goodnow, RISI Senior Timber Economist: Increases in demand for biomass will come from cellulosic biofuel, electricity, and pellets. However, supply of biomass will also increase in response to market forces. There will be upward pressures on wood prices but they will be partially constrained by the need for wood to compete with other forms of bioenergy and with wind and solar in the power area.

Bryce Stokes, Director of Research U.S. Forest Service Vegetation Unit: We will potentially be able to make better use of logging residues, first thinnings, fuel treatments, and urban wood wastes. Silvicultural techniques will also progress.

Markku Karlsson, Senior Vice President of Technology, UPM-Kymmene: In Europe, changes are needed to prevent bioenergy demand from outstripping supply. Changes would include new cultivation and harvesting technologies, more and better interdisciplinary research, and technological innovations to maximize energy yields in a way that brings added value to businesses.

John Cowie, Director of Technology Management & Development, Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance: Bioenergy presents opportunities for the forest products industry because higher output of biofuels per ton of feedstock can be achieved when the biorefinery and pulp mill are integrated. Biorefineries generate considerable waste heat that can be put to good use by an associated pulp mill.

Ben Geman, Senior Reporter, Energy & Environment Daily: With energy costs near historical highs, Congress is under significant pressure to enact energy reform legislation. However, with the November elections looming, Democrats and Republicans are loathe to hand the other side a victory. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that any major energy legislation will be passed this year.

As the nationís largest producer of renewable biomass energy, producing more than 60 percent of its own energy onsite from biomass generated through our manufacturing processes, the forest products industry is well positioned to succeed in the bioenergy field in the right policy environment, AF&PA said.

To help create the conditions for the forest product industryís success, AF&PA said it's working closely with policymakers at the state and federal levels to ensure that emerging bioenergy policies are informed by current data accurately accounting for projected increases in biomass demand, and the ability of the nation's biomass resources to sustainably meet that demand.

About AF&PA
American Forest & Paper Association is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing forest landowners and pulp, paper, paperboard, and wood products manufacturers. Our companies are in the business of producing products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources that sustain the environment. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 6 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing. Visit AF&PA online at www.afandpa.org .

SOURCE: American Forest & Paper Association

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