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Potentials of Wood for Producing Energy

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Rising prices of fuels and energy have evoked proposals for increased use of wood as an industrial fuel and as a chemical feedstock. The fuel potential of the entire U.S. annual timber harvest is small compared to the energy produced yearly from fossil fuels. It appears unfeasible to supply large steam-electric plants or chemical plants from standing timber, mill residue, or logging residue. The chief obstacles are lack of assured long-term supplies, high costs of collection and inherent disadvantages of wood compared to those of fossil fuels. A further deterrent is the increasing value of wood chips, sawdust and shavings for the manufacture of pulp and particleboard. However, use of bark and wood residues for production of process steam and electricity at forest products plants may be highly advantageous. The great potential contribution of wood to solve our energy problems probably lies in improved timber processing and efficient wood products design.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Staff Economist, Forest Products Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Laboratory is maintained at Madison in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin

Publication date: September 1, 1974

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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