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    Author(s): David L. Nicholls; Peter M. Crimp
    Date: 2002
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-533. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 17 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (380 KB)


    Wood energy can be important in meeting the energy needs of Alaska communities that have access to abundant biomass resources. In the Kenai Peninsula, a continuing spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis (Kirby)) infestation has created large volumes of standing dead spruce trees (Picea spp.). For this evaluation, a site in the Kenai-Soldotna area was chosen for a small, industrial-scale (4 million British thermal units (BTUs) per hour) wood-fired hot water heating system, which could be fueled by salvaged spruce timber and also by sawmilling residues. Thirty-six different scenarios were evaluated by using wood fuel costs ranging from $10 to $50 per delivered ton, alternative fuel costs from $1 to $2 per gallon, and fuel moisture contents of either 20 percent or 50 percent (green basis). In addition, two different capital costs were considered. Internal rates of return varied from less than 0 to about 31 percent, and project payback periods varied from 4 years to greater than 20 years. Potential barriers to the long-term sustainability of a wood energy system in the Kenai Peninsula include the availability of biomass material once current spruce salvage activities subside. The estimated wood fuel requirements of about 2,000 tons per year are expected to be easily met by spruce salvage operations over the short term and by sawmill residues after salvage inventories diminish. It is expected that a wood energy system this size would not significantly reduce overall fuel loads in the area, but instead would be a good demonstration of this type of system while providing other community benefits and energy savings.

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    Nicholls, David L.; Crimp, Peter M. 2002. Feasibility of using wood wastes to meet local heating requirements of communities in the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-533. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 17 p


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    Economics, wood energy, biomass, wood products, Alaska

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