Forest derived woody biomass or logging residuals/slash currently makes up 40% of Seneca Sustainable Energy’s (SSE’s) annual fuel consumption. Seneca Jones Timber Company’s (SJTC’s) forestlands provide a vast source of biomass to fuel SSE’s facility to produce renewable energy. Biomass is generated as a byproduct of harvest activities and consists of the non-merchantable slash wood that results from these operations. Recovering woody biomass from the forest floor improves forest health by reducing unwanted slash and creating additional fuel hazard. By bringing biomass into SSE’s energy facility, we are able to improve air quality by reducing the amount of slash disposal necessary in the forest. Our renewable energy facility and subsequent biomass collection provides both an environmental and economic opportunity to put under utilized material to work in a manner that will benefit Oregon forests, homes and families.
Biomass removal is not without its challenges, stemming largely from location. Material for the SSE facility comes from local timberlands located in the Coast or Cascade mountain ranges. Good access is a requirement to allow chip trucks and trailers to deliver the material to our SSE facility. Narrow, winding roads constructed for forest harvest purposes can be challenging for chip trucks and trailers. In order for operations to be viable, distance can also play an important role.
Before biomass can be hauled out of the woods it must first be collected and prepared for grinding. Great care must be taken to keep the material clean to not introduce dirt or rocks into SSE’s facility.
Effective removal of biomass from a recent harvest unit, puts the unit in an excellent condition for replanting purposes. In many cases, other silviculture treatments such as scarification and slash pile burning can be significantly reduced as a result of these activities.
For additional information on Biomass: