In honor of the Fifth Annual Bioenergy Day, 60 organizations across the United States and Canada are participating in events Oct. 18 to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of using organic materials (also known as biomass) to produce heat, power and fuels. Today, during National Forest Products Week, private businesses, state governments and universities are inviting local residents and stakeholders to learn more about bioenergy and how it contributes locally to forest health and economic productivity.
“Restoring healthy, resilient forests depends on strong forest products markets that include wood energy,” said U. S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “Thinning overcrowded forests, removing dead trees and using these fuels, as well as small, woody materials that burn easily, helps reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and fosters healthier forests.”
Most bioenergy is made from organic materials that are byproducts from other industries and have no other use. Bioenergy plays a key role in forest health by providing a market for dead fibers that are cleared from forests to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fires. By valuing materials that might otherwise go to waste, bioenergy often contributes to the economic well-being of farmers, foresters and landowners.
“On Bioenergy Day, I’d like to encourage all Americans and Canadians to heat locally,” said Stan Elliot, chairman of the Pellet Fuels Institute board of directors. “Our members make pellets from materials available in their nearby communities. While fossil fuel heating usually involves importing fuel from elsewhere, wood pellets are often made near the stores where they are sold. Heating with pellet fuels is a great way to save money and support your local forest products industry. ”
“From a festival in Tennessee, to a facility opening in Nebraska, to a public meeting in Alaska, people all over the country today are talking about bioenergy today, the Fifth Annual Bioenergy Day,” said Bob Cleaves, president of Biomass Power Association. “In the short time we’ve been organizing this event, it has tripled in size and introduced thousands of Americans to bioenergy and its benefits. By putting to use otherwise useless or low value materials, we are all better off. Our forests are healthier, our communities have more jobs, and we provide a solution for the disposal of waste materials.”
“Firewood continues to be an essential energy and heating source in suburban and rural communities across North America,” said Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. “HPBA members across Canada and the United States know the importance of bioenergy from wood heaters and their role in providing energy security and heating households.”
Each year, the U.S. Forest Service and Biomass Power Association collaborate on a video to highlight the role of bioenergy in a local economy. This year’s video featured Northwest Montana, showcasing the many ways that businesses and schools in the area use bioenergy to save money and utilize byproducts.
National Bioenergy Day sponsors include Biomass Power Association, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, Pellet Fuels Institute, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and Biomass Magazine. To learn more, please visit www.bioenergyday.org.
For updates on National Bioenergy Day and news on biomass, follow @USABiomass on Twitter, or search for the hashtag #bioenergyday.