In Missouri, the forest products industry typically focuses on managing forest resources for conventional wood products (e.g., grade lumber, railroad ties, barrel staves, pine poles and posts). With increased national attention on deriving our energy supply from renewable sources, there is interest in assessing woody biomass as a suitable input for energy generation. Over the last several years, numerous groups have convened expert panels to review and assess the benefits and drawbacks of using wood as an energy source for large-scale energy production. Below are a few resources to help you better understand the issue, its potential impact in Missouri, and the broader national discussion of woody biomass.

MoFRAC Input on State Initiatives

MoFRAC provided comment to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in 2010 when it proposed a Renewable Energy Standards Rule. Read our comments and MDNR’s response.
MoFRAC sent a letter in March 2011 to Sen. Brad Lager and Rep. Jason Holsman regarding the Renewable Energy Standards legislation.

MoFRAC letter to Lager+Holsman – RES legislation.pdf

MoFRAC sent a letter on November 17, 2011 at the request of Rep. Jason Holsman’s office for distribution to the General Assembly providing a summary of the seminar on biogenic carbon neutrality.

MoFRAC letter to General Assembly – biogenic carbon neutrality.pdf

Missouri Department of Conservation Woody Biomass Harvesting: Best Management Practices Manual

Link to PDF of full document

“Woody biomass harvesting is a developing industry in its infancy. As world petroleum prices rise, alternative energy sources, such as biomass from our forests, will become more utilized.Harvesting woody biomass is similar to harvesting pulpwood. We expect new equipment and methods to be developed as demand grows, but in the beginning most harvesting will occur with equipment such as we now use. Currently we believe woody biomass harvesting to be economically feasible only when combined with sawtimber harvest.This booklet has been prepared to inform forest owners, loggers, foresters and other interested persons about woody biomass harvesting best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs provide recommendations designed to protect the forest that the citizens of Missouri rely on for jobs, clean air and water, diverse wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, outdoor recreation and tourism.”

Missouri Power Plants and Potential Supply Zones

Map and brief description of proposed and developing projects to produce electricity from wood in Missouri to illustrate their overlapping supply zones.


Location Status (as of January 2012) and Projected Needs

  • University of Missouri – Columbia Boiler under construction for Combined Heat and Power plant. Also co-firing other coal boilers with woody biomass. Will need 120,000- 165,000 tons.
  • Perryville Liberty Green Renewables proposed 32 mw power plant. Will need 350,000-400,000 tons.
  • Bixby/Viburnum – Viburnum area group in talks with Doe Run mining company and plant-builder ProEnergy. Potential size likely the same 20 mw, 300,000 ton proposal as ProEnergy’s failed Salem, Mo proposal which was rejected by city aldermen.
  • Ellington – Ameren feasibility study indicates potential 12.5 mw power plant, approximately 175,000 tons.
  • Fort Leonard Wood – Army base issued a call for proposals in 2010. In lieu of an officially proposed project, the fort being a federal installation in a time of momentum to develop energy alternatives, situated within a Mark Twain National Forest District, it is reasonable to assume continued interest here.
  • Sikeston – Abengoa, a European company, is proposing a large cellulosic ethanol plant at Sikeston that could need 350,000 tons of wood (plus 350,000 tons of agricultural material such as corn stalks.)

Renewable Energy Credits

Slide Show explaining Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and discussing why their award for energy from woody biomass should be tied to total energy conversion efficiency.

MoFRAC Committee on Woody Biomass Auditor Training

Draft documents to develop the curriculum for a training program and reporting for third-party audits of compliance of woody biomass harvest with Best Management Practices.  Prepared by a MoFRAC committee chaired by Scott Brundage.

Audit Form (draft)

Forester Training (draft outline)

Woody Biomass Events

For more information, visit these pages about the 2012 biomass conference and the 2012 workshop at the Missouri Natural Resources Conference:

2010 Biomass Conference

2012 Biomass Workshop

(Photo: MoFRAC promoted specification of sustainable harvest standards in the University of Missouri-Columbia’s contract with the woody biomass supplier for its Combined Heat & Power project. Image courtesy of Benjamin Zack)