Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Dongyeob Kim; Nathaniel McLean Anderson; Woodam Chung
    Date: 2015
    Source: Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (485.14 KB)


    Primary wood products manufacturers generate significant amounts of woody biomass residues that can be used as feedstocks for distributed-scale thermochemical conversion systems that produce valuable bioenergy and bioproducts. However, private investment in these technologies is driven primarily by financial performance, which is often unknown for new technologies with limited industrial deployment. In this paper, we use shift-level production data collected during a 25-day field study to characterize the conversion rate and system productivity and costs for a commercially available pyrolysis system co-located at a sawmill, and then evaluate the net present value (NPV) of the operation in light of a cost structure that is realistic for the industry. Baseline costs on a feedstock throughput basis were estimated as $16.41 t-1 for feedstock preparation, $308.14 t-1 for conversion, and $65.99 t-1 for biochar bagging. The NPV estimated for the worst-case scenario of observed productivity and conversion rate was -$536,031 for a 10-year project period, while the best case scenario generated an NPV of $467,353. In general, NPV is highly sensitive to labor costs and biochar price, and less sensitive to fuel cost and interest rate. Results also show clear opportunities for technical and operational improvements that are expected to increase the financial viability of this system.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Kim, Dongyeob; Anderson, Nathaniel McLean; Chung, Woodam. 2015. Financial performance of a mobile pyrolysis system used to produce biochar from sawmill residues. Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.


    Google Scholar


    mobile pyrolysis system, biochar, sawmill residues, wood products, woody biomass, bioenergy, bioproducts

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page