Wood Biomass Harvesting

U.P. residents get a chance to look at an emerging field that could bring both economic development and environmental sustainability.

Project BURN-UP is an effort to create a wood biomass industry in the U.P.

They held a demonstration and workshop at Michigan Tech’s Ford Forestry Center in Alberta.

Loggers, foresters and other interested people from the area got to see first-hand how wood is transformed into fuel.

Linda Howlett of Project BURN-UP says it’s portions of the tree left over from logging that are ground up for biomass — treetops and limbs that wouldn’t otherwise be used for anything.

The demonstrations involve learning about the industrial opportunities in that field, as well as what kinds of tree harvesting guidelines need to be followed to make sure the trees grow back.

Howlett says the group is hopeful about the use of wood biomass in the future, since the U.P. is so heavily forested and has a lot of potential.

Two renewable energy production plants are slated to open in the U.P. in the next couple of years — Renewafuel at K.I. Sawyer sometime within the next 6 months, and Mascoma in Kinross in 2012.

And they’re both going to use wood biomass.