CONCORD-The Governors Office of Energy and Community Services (ECS) announced today receipt of U. S. Department of Energy funding for a bio-oil feasibility study in the amount of $99,451.
Bio-oil is a locally-produced, "carbon-neutral" low-polluting fuel extracted from wood that can be used for peak-demand generation of electricity; renewable energy carbon offsets against emissions from fossil fuel; a chemical feedstock for green extractives; and a source of process heat and steam from cogeneration.
The grant, which will be matched with additional funds and in-kind contributions of more than $100,000, will allow a thorough review of the information on the maturity of wood-to-bio-oil technology and ascertain the suitability of bio-oil for use in combustion turbines and other combustion systems.
The study will also examine the potential for deriving chemicals from bio-oil to establish a "green" chemicals industry, and determine the economic, energy security and environmental opportunities available for siting a bio-oil facility in New Hampshire, according to ECS Energy Policy Director Jack Ruderman.
"This is a crucial step that will allow ECS and our partners to help maintain the viability and competitiveness of our forest products industry," Ruderman said. "It will give us the facts we need to move forward in developing potential new technologies in this area," he added, noting that state agencies-including the Department of Resources and Economic Development-and North Country organizations have expressed interest in and support for the project.
Bio-oil extracted from wood would contribute to energy security and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, according to Joseph Broyles, ECS energy manager for renewable energy.
"We believe a viable bio-oil market could help revitalize the states troubled wood products industry," Broyles said, noting that the industry comprises the third largest sector of New Hampshires economy. "Because they employ more than 11,500 people, and generate $3.9 billion in goods and services annually, New Hampshires forestry operations and forest-based industries are essential to the states economy," he said.
The production of bio-oil by wood pyrolysis may revitalize the low-grade wood market, Broyles says. "This study will clear up uncertainty regarding the economics and technical maturity of bio-oil production, its use in combustion turbines, and the potential for extractives valuable in their own right or as feedstocks for green chemical industries."
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