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Individual Highlight

Pilot Scale Gasification of Woody Biomass

Photo of Woody biomass, such as wood chips, can be converted into synthetic gas. USDA Forest ServiceWoody biomass, such as wood chips, can be converted into synthetic gas. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Silvicultural management regimes are designed to generate many societal products in an environmentally healthy and sustainable manner. The wood removed from U.S. forests has traditionally been aimed at structural building materials but there is currentlyan increased demand for woody biomass as a chemical or thermal feedstock. Forest Service scientists are evaluating various species and woody biomass from a variety of silvicultural practices to determine efficacy in an industrial process and sustainability.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Groom, Leslie 
Research Location : Pineville, LA
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 728


Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the development of technologies to convert woody biomass to liquid transportation fuels. If successful, this will place a demand on wood fiber not seen since the pulp and paper boom in the 1980's and 90's. Determining the most efficacious and sustainable manner of using renewable woody resources is critical. The Forest Service's Southern Research Station conducts thermochemical conversion research of woody biomass at a pilot scale. The scientists are in the fourth year of a study that evaluates the efficacy of various southern pine feedstocks as grown under a variety of silvicultural regimes. They also haveexpanded their sampling to include short rotation woody biomass species such as eucalyptus and tallow. External funding expanded the research in this area to include liquid-transportation fuel conversion. Normal gasification converts woody biomass into a natural gas-type vaporous gas commonly referred to as synthesis gas. The synthesis gas is typically the feedstock that runs an internal combustion engine that turns a generator to produce electricity. The scientists added the capability to compress the synthesis gas up to 2,000 in gas cylinders. This allows us to store the gas for subsequent chemical analysis. Storing the synthesis gas in cylinders also allows them to transport gas to various academic and industrial laboratories for commercialization of conversion schemes to drop-in fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Don Bragg, Research Forester, RWU-SRS-4159, Southern Research Station, Monticello, AR
  • Eddie Taylor, Forest Supervisor, Kisatchie National Forest, Pineville, LA
  • Forrest Oliveria, Forest Health Protection (S&PF), Field Office Representative, Pineville, LA
  • Nate Anderson, Research Forester, Rocky Mountain Station, Missoula, MT
  • Buck Vandersteen, Executive Director, Louisiana Forestry Association, Alexandria, LA.
  • Jerry Spivey, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA