Information from the 2010 Biomass Conference:

Challenges of Producing Energy from Woody Biomass

A conference hosted by MoFRAC at The Runge Nature Center on October 22nd, 2010 with 150 attendees.


Speaker Profiles


  • Identify challenges to using wood for energy
  • Propose sustainable, practical responses to those challenges
  • Encourage prompt action to avert unintended consequences while striving for renewable energy and energy independence


The Missouri forest products industry has traditionally focused on harvesting saw timber rather than the small and poor quality trees and forest residues that could be a feedstock for the numerous bioenergy projects being proposed in the state.  The conference will explore the challenges facing this industry, resource managers, state agencies, and energy planners as they chart a path to ensure sustainable harvest practices in this new sphere of activity.

Wood procurement agents and energy planners and managers will be concerned with acquiring and transporting adequate feedstock in a timely and cost effective fashion.  Resource managers and state agencies will want to ensure that this is done in a supervised fashion that protects the resource for future generations and minimizes negative environmental impact.

Collaboration and mutual understanding will be essential to success, and third party verification will check whether agreed harvest practices are followed.  Projects using feedstock from shared areas must be coordinated to ensure their economic viability.

Of Interest To

  • State legislators
  • State agencies
  • Resource managers
  • Biomass suppliers
  • Town planners and leaders
  • Electrical utilities
  • Energy project developers

News report on the conference proceedings (November 2, 2010)

Technical Background

Manomet Study: Biomass Confusion This article by Eric Kingsley in The Northern Logger & Timber Processor finds that the underlying message of the Manomet report is that biomass energy is carbon neutral, even carbon positive—with some important considerations. These include the source of the biomass, the technology used to convert it to energy, the carbon profile of the technology it replaced, and, probably most importantly, an understanding of the time frame.

Co-harvesting Saw Logs & Smallwood is Profitable This summary of a full report from the Eastern Ozarks Forestry Council that conventional equipment could profitably and sustainably supply woody biomass for bio-energy when combined with a suitable forest management model.

Mark Twain Forest Watcher’s Report This is an overview of the situation in Missouri regarding the use of wood to produce electricity, prepared by Hank Dorst of Mark Twain Forest Watchers.

Pioneer Forest Report This is an assessment of a wood-to-electricity project proposed for Salem, MO by Terry Cunningham (Manager) and Jason Green (Forester) of Pioneer Forest, LLC.  Pioneer is the largest private forest land owner in Missouri.