The mountain pine beetle epidemic in Colorado has sparked new interest in using biomass for fuel, as lodge pole pine forests across the state are ravaged by beetles and uses are sought for the dead wood.
Some innovative projects use dead trees to heat large facilities. In Gilpin County, for example, the public works building is heated with chips ground from dead trees that residents can drop off.
Photo Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Hybrid cottonwood tree farm
Interest is also growing in making pellets from wood and using them for fuel in clean-burning stoves. A pellet mill recently opened in Silver Plume, for example, to supply pellets from beetle-killed wood to the Front Range: (http://www.newearthpellets.com/locations)
Biomass, which includes materials ranging from energy crops to municipal landfill waste can be used for fuels, power product and products that are now mostly made from oil-based products.
Photo Courtesy of DOE/NREL, Milled whole tree product
For More Information
Finding a Biomass Stove
Certain efficient biomass stoves qualify for a federal tax credit: (http://www.energysavers.gov/financial/70010.html)
Reviews of biomass stoves: (http://www.consumersearch.com/pellet-and-wood-stoves/reviews)
Information about Biomass
Where Wood Works: Strategies for Heating with Woody Biomass
Colorado State University Extension has a variety of information about Biomass (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/energy/biomass.html)
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s biomass basics:
More specific information about the Mountain Pine Beetle:
This link on the Colorado State Forest Service webpage has backgro0und information and resources about the beetle:
Quick Facts on Blue-Strained Wood
Beating the Blues: Frequently Asked Questions about the Mountain Pine Beetle and the Utilization of Blue-Stained Lodgepole Pine Timber in Colorado (http://www.csfs.colostate.edu/cowood/library/05_Beating_the_Blues.pdf)