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Engineered wood fuels for southeast Alaska—local wood chips for thermal energy applications, and the specific case of Haines, AlaskaAuthor(s): David L. Nicholls; Robert Deering; Thomas R. Miles
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-965. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 24 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionThe wood energy landscape is rapidly changing in southeast Alaska. One of the important decisions facing wood energy users is the best choice of wood fuel to use, with options often including wood chips, cordwood, and pellets. However, there are usually tradeoffs depending on the wood energy type selected: wood pellets must often be transported long distances, cordwood systems are relatively labor intensive, and chip-fired systems can often be very expensive. We consider the use of locally produced and engineered fuel chips as a fuel source for small thermal wood energy applications in southeast Alaska. Factors such as equipment selection, fuel moisture content, fuel transportation, wood chip dimensions, drying practices, and fuel screening and handling are evaluated. We also consider the specific case of wood energy in Haines, Alaska, where plans are underway to heat one or more community buildings with locally produced wood fuel. Locally engineered fuel chips can offer opportunities to use a flexible fuel type that could improve the reliability and efficiency of wood thermal systems. Increased use of wood energy in Haines could increase community independence and economic development, and flexible fuel types such as locally engineered chips could enhance this effort. However, site-specific factors would need to be considered more fully, including detailed financial analyses and the size of buildings to be heated. Customized engineered wood fuels have the potential for efficient operation and cost savings while providing a stable fuel type that can help guide future wood energy systems for communities in southeast Alaska.
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CitationNicholls, David L.; Deering, Robert; Miles, Thomas R. 2019. Engineered wood fuels for southeast Alaska—local wood chips for thermal energy applications, and the specific case of Haines, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-965. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 24 p.
KeywordsPellets, wood energy, residential heating, locally engineered chips, southeast Alaska.
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