Forest biomass represents 25–30 % of the annual biomass available in the USA for conversion into bio-based fuels, bio-based chemicals, and bioproducts in general. The USDA Forest Service Research and Development (R&D) has been focused on producing products from forest biomass since its inception in 1905, with direct combustion, solid sawn lumber, pulp and paper, ethanol as fuel, and silvichemicals all among the mission areas of product research and development. The renewed national interest in biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals is supportive of the most critical need of USDA Forest Service R&D, uses for small-diameter trees and other forest biomass that needs to be removed in the fuel mitigation–fire suppression and forest restoration work of the USDA Forest Service. This paper will summarize the recent USDA Forest Service research on direct combustion, fuel pellets, and conversion of forest biomass to ethanol, both as stand-alone biorefinery processes and as an addition to the traditional wood pulping process.
Rudie, Alan W.; Houtman, Carl J.; Groom, Leslie H.; Nicholls, David L.; Zhu, J. Y. 2016. A survey of bioenergy research in Forest Service Research and Development. BioEnergy Research. 9(2): 534-547. DOI 10.1007/s12155-016-9731-5