Woody Bio-Mass Feedstock
A redundant supply of feedstock in close proximity to the project site is crucial to a biofuel project’s success. Without a continuous supply of feedstock (in NWABF’s case woody biomass), you cannot produce enough biofuel to meet the needs of the Off-taker. To mitigate risk, a project should have at least two to four times the amount of feedstock from multiple financially stable suppliers. If one supplier has problems delivering, there is redundancy with multiple back-up suppliers. Feedstock sourcing and transportation costs can be one of the largest on-going operating costs of production that impact the project profitability. Sourcing feedstock in close proximity to the project site allows a project to better manage recurring
Modeling the availability of woody biomass (organic matter from trees and plants) in heavily forested areas was the focus of a recent project conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), one of the national laboratories of the U.S. Department of Energy.
A joint team set out to build a software model to show the economics behind harvesting woody biomass as an energy source, and how harvesting could create benefits to boost forest restoration and reduce the risk of wildfire. The study focused on biomass from commercial thinning and timber harvesting, and evaluated the delivered costs of biomass from restoration activities, factoring in data from 2/2 nearby markets, processing, and transportation costs. Initial results from the team’s research, based on a specific geographical area, showed that nearly 1.5 million tons of economically viable biomass were available for bioenergy use. This included delivery of about 395,000 tons of wood chips at or below $60/ton and another million tons generated from mill residue. The team’s research further validates everything that NWABF has been pursuing in the past years. Converting biomass into jet fuel is a viable proposition for the future. This was confirmed in the 2013 NARA (Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance) study, released by the Department of Agriculture. The three-year, $40 million study explored the availability, the costs, benefits, and logistics of using forest residuals and mill residues as a source of SAF. It confirmed that more than 10 million tons of woody biomass is available for conversion into jet fuel.
This is encouraging news, as Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels takes woody biomass, gasifies it and through a sophisticated proven technical process, converts it to Premium Renewable Sustainable Aviation Fuel from the conversion of slash, forest residues, and mill residues in forests. Having a better understanding of the availability of woody plant biomass to convert into Sustainable Aviation Fuel will help NWABF with its long-term operational forecasts.