• Woody Biomass Fuel Crops in Interior Alaska

      Garber-Slaght, Robbin; Sparrow, Stephen D.; masiak, darleen t.; Holdmann, Gwen (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2009)
      As the price of traditional fossil fuels escalates, there is increasing interest in using renewable resources, such as biomass, to meet our energy needs. Biomass resources are of particular interest to communities in interior Alaska, where they are abundant (Fresco, 2006). Biomass has the potential to partially replace heating oil, in addition to being a possible source for electric power generation (Crimp and Adamian, 2000; Nicholls and Crimp, 2002; Fresco, 2006). The communities of Tanana and Dot Lake have already installed small Garn boilers to provide space heating for homes and businesses (Alaska Energy Authority, 2009). A village-sized combined heat and power (CHP) demonstration project has been proposed in North Pole. In addition, several Fairbanks area organizations are interested in using biomass as a fuel source. For example, the Fairbanks North Star Borough is interested in using biomass to supplement coal in a proposed coal-to-liquids project, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center is planning to test a small biomass fired CHP unit, and the University of Alaska is planning an upgrade to its existing coal-fired power plant that could permit co-firing with biomass fuels. The challenge for all of these projects is in ensuring that biomass can be harvested on both an economically and ecologically sustainable basis.