Wood utilization

Biochar 101 and potential applications

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Forest Products Services program in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service hosted a webinar highlighting the fundamentals of biochar.  Biochar is an emerging forest product that is derived from woody biomass and other organic feedstocks. The use of biochar has gained considerable interest in the agricultural field, and it presents opportunities for utilizing available biomass sources. Topics covered in the webinar included: Biochar markets and uses, biochar production systems, and applications in vegetable growing.  The webinar has been archived and can be viewed here.

Wood energy assistance for Wisconsin businesses

By Sabina Dhungana, forest products specialist, Madison, 608-220-4531

The Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) is a public-private partnership that aims to expand markets for converting woody biomass into energy while advancing installation of commercially viable wood energy systems in both public and private facilities. These efforts support forest restoration, wildfire mitigation, urban wood utilization and other sustainable forest management goals. The WI DNR Forest Products Services program is a member of SWET and currently coordinates the team’s efforts across Wisconsin.

SWET was initially established in 2015 by a USDA Forest Service grant. During the grant period, the team completed seven wood energy analysis projects in Wisconsin for a wide range of entities such as wood industries, hospitals, cheese factories, and schools. Facilities sought out this free assistance to better utilize locally available wood residues while understanding potential cost savings of wood energy. SWET members worked with interested facilities by collecting essential information such as facility energy needs, utility costs, woody biomass availability, and any potential future energy demands. The cost/benefit analysis was then conducted in cooperation with an engineering firm contracted by USDA Forest Service.

With the continuation of wood energy efforts across Wisconsin, your facility can take advantage of this free assistance from SWET. If you are interested in a free wood energy analysis, please contact Sabina Dhungana via email at Sabina.Dhungana@wisconsin.gov or call her at 608-220-4531.

October 16 – urban wood webinar: using local materials to enhance design & sustainability on projects

Do you have an interest in learning more about urban wood as a locally and sustainably sourced option for wood building materials? Is your community, organization or company planning for renovations or new construction projects? If you answered yes to either of the above, we invite you to check out an upcoming webinar from Wisconsin Urban Wood on this very topic. Continue reading “October 16 – urban wood webinar: using local materials to enhance design & sustainability on projects”

Value-added Wood Manufacturing Industry Survey Results

By Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

The value-added wood manufacturing industry (or secondary wood manufacturing industry) includes companies that use primary wood products such as lumber or veneer to produce higher value products, such as flooring, cabinets, millwork, furniture, sporting goods, doors, windows, roof trusses, wall panels, and other building materials. The industry includes more than 800 facilities, employs more than 20,000 workers, and generates a direct economic impact $3 billion in Wisconsin (WI DWD 2019; IMPLAN DATA 2017).

Continue reading “Value-added Wood Manufacturing Industry Survey Results”

Mass Timber University Grant Program

The announcement below has been reprinted with the written permission by the US Forest Service – Forest Products Laboratory and its original author, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS), announced the initiation of the Mass Timber University Grant Program (grant program) and related Request for Proposals (RFP) to promote the construction of mass timber buildings on institutions of higher learning campuses across the U.S.  The intent of the grant program is to inspire interest in and support for mass timber products among the architectural, developer and building communities as well as the public, by showcasing them in highly-visible projects on university campuses.

Continue reading “Mass Timber University Grant Program”

The Urban Wood Toolkit available to communities

Are you looking to find the highest and best use for removed urban and community trees? The Urban Wood Toolkit is here to assist in developing a marketing and utilization strategy for communities to reduce costs and to connect communities with local forest products manufacturers to grow economic opportunities.

Continue reading “The Urban Wood Toolkit available to communities”

Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass

By Sabina Dhungana, Forest Products Specialist

biochar sample

This is a sample of biochar produced from coarse woody biomass.

What is Biochar?
Biochar is a pure carbon product made from organic material that is generally produced through a process called pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is the decomposition of organic matter at elevated temperatures in an environment with limited oxygen.

Biochar Production and Opportunities for Wood Businesses
Biochar can be produced using woody biomass such as wood chips, sawdust, shavings or bark that is generated from timber harvesting or as a by-product of wood products manufacturing.

Biochar production systems can be classified as either pyrolysis or gasification systems. The pyrolysis of biomass results in three main products: a solid (bio-char), a liquid (bio-oil), and a gas (syngas). Furthermore, pyrolysis becomes self-sustaining as syngas that is produced combusts, generating additional heat for the production process. Gasification on the other hand produces smaller quantities of biochar in a directly-heated reaction vessel with introduced air. Although pyrolysis systems result in higher concentrations of biochar, both production systems can be developed as mobile or stationary units as per the need and availability of the feedstock. Continue reading “Biochar: An Emerging Market for Underutilized Woody Biomass”

Primary mill mapping tool released

By Collin Buntrock, Forest Products Team Leader

The Forest Products Services program recently worked with the Technology Services Section in the Division of Forestry to develop an interactive mapping tool highlighting Wisconsin’s primary wood-using mills.

The new mill mapping tool highlights Wisconsin’s primary mills.

The goal of the mapping tool is to facilitate better marketing of forest products by connecting value-added industries with Wisconsin’s primary mills and by assisting forest managers and loggers with identifying markets for harvested timber. Mill data can be refined by county, species processed, products utilized, and products sold and then downloaded for later reference.

Wisconsin’s primary forest products industry consists of firms that manufacture logs and pulpwood into wood and paper products. Specific examples include sawmills, veneer plants, pulp mills and firewood processors, as well as companies that manufacture products such as composite panels (e.g. oriented strand board, particleboard), shavings, utility poles, wood pellets, and log buildings.

Mill data featured in this tool is collected by Forest Products Services staff as part of the USDA Timber Product Output survey. The FPS program will refine this dataset beginning in early 2019. It should be noted that a subset of mills opted-out of the mill dataset. Therefore, you may be aware of additional mills that are not included in the mapping tool.

If you know of a business that would like to be included in this mapping tool, please send an email to a staff member on the Forest Products Services team and include their contact information, species and products utilized, and products produced.

Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin

Written by Scott Lyon, Forest Products Specialist

Many communities have expressed greater interest in local goods and services over the last few years; as a result urban wood recycling efforts have increased in Wisconsin. The increase of trees killed by invasive insects and disease caused many municipalities to seek alternative uses for urban wood rather than disposing material in a landfill. Recent efforts to market this growing source of material and develop ways to recycle urban trees within communities led Wisconsin to become one of the leading states in urban wood utilization. Continue reading “Markets growing for urban wood across Wisconsin”

Wood Energy Webinar a Success

In July, the Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team hosted a free webinar titled, “Wood Energy Systems and Forest Industry Companies: When Are They the Right Fit.” Thirty people attended the webinar. The webinar addressed why wood energy is a good fit for sawmills and other forest products manufacturers. The webinar presenters also covered topics such as the production of heat from wood, combined heat and power that produces heat and electrical power, how wood energy can help with residue management, and what tools are available to look at the feasibility of a project. Some example projects were also highlighted to show how wood energy is benefiting actual companies. For those of you who missed this webinar, please visit the Wisconsin State Wood Energy Team website for educational videos, case studies, tools, and other information to learn more about whether wood energy is the right fit for your home or business.