This interactive database is designed to inform you of the biomass supplies that
are potentially available. Some usage (demand) is also reported here. The types
of biomass addressed include wood mill residues, logging residues, agronomic mill
residues, field crop residues, collectable manure, and municipal solid waste. This
information was collected with the assumption that the primary potential use for
this biomass is energy production; however, any biomass is available for conversion
into a host of other products, such as chemicals or panel boards.
When you enter this database, you will have a choice
of how you want this information presented (the menu in the left column):
Search by Company name,
parish, zip or type industry
Which is essentially an
of Company Search
The Parish Totals menu contains aggregate data at the parish level. The Company
Search and Map Tools menu contains information on individual wood-using mills as
collected in a survey conducted in January and February 2008.
Agronomic Mill Residues:
Rice hulls, sugarcane bagasse, cotton gin trash, and other residues from milling
agronomic annual crops. These numbers can fluctuate because farmers choose each
year which crops to plant based on expected economic return on investment. Cotton
gin trash has a relatively high nutrient value and is commonly spread on fields.
(or logging slash):
Linbs, treetops and sometimes cull logs (hollow, very crooked or otherwise unusable
tree stems) that are unmerchantable by current utilization practices. Depending
upon the type of logging equipment used, some logging operations leave all logging
residues in the woods and drag or carry only the logs to the truck loading area
(known as the deck, set or landing). Other operations drag (skid) the whole tree
(above-ground part only) to the deck, where the delimbing, topping and truck loading
takes place. The current practice is to carry much of these residues back into the
woods and scatter them on the skid trails. Very little logging residues are currently
utilized. However, it has an intrinsic value by providing nutrients for the soil
to help grow the next generation of trees.
Significant quantities of collectable manure in Louisiana is limited to poultry
litter, dairy cow manure, and sewage sludge.
In other words, human manure. High moisture content can be a problem if the intended
use is energy. According to the EPA, “ “Sewage Sludge” refers to the solids separated
during the treatment of municipal wastewater. The definition includes domestic septage.
“Biosolids” refers to treated sewage sludge that meets the EPA pollutant and pathogen
requirements for land application and surface disposal. See EPA’s
biosolids program at the national level for more
general information and documents.”
Wood Mill Residues:
Sawdust, lumber and plywood trimmings, planer shavings and similar residues from
sawmills, plywood mills, cabinet shops, etc. Most of this material is already utilized
– much of it for energy, but some of it for making particleboard. A small amount
is used for horse bedding.
Commodity Production: These numbers are agronomic crop production levels in units
as labeled. Weights are green (include moisture). These numbers can fluctuate because
farmers choose each year which crops to plant based on expected economic return
on investment. Since crawfish is a common double crop of rice field, rice straw
has a value for grazing by crawfish. Residues that can be obtained from these crops
include: straw from rice and other grain crops; soybean stalks, cotton stalks, etc.
The numbers in this group show primary crop production, not residue production.
You will need to add your own residue production factors to these numbers to estimate
residue production potential.
What is biomass energy?
“Biomass” is a general term that refers to all living things (plants and animals),
as well as the things derived from them (e.g., wood, paper, sawdust, grains and
straw). “Biomass energy” refers to energy (such as electricity, boiler fuels and
motor fuels) that can be derived from biomass (usually, plants). The wood burning
in your fireplace is biomass energy; so is leftover sawdust and sugarcane bagasse
burned under a boiler to produce steam in a mill.
Because plants use energy from the sun to grow, biomass is a form of stored solar
energy. To make it more transportable, biomass can be converted into types of natural
gas, gasoline (ethanol) or Diesel fuel. Some of these processes are economically
feasible and are already on the marketplace.
Louisiana contains a wealth of resources such as timber, sugarcane, rice, cotton,
corn, soybeans, and other crops. The forestry and agriculture industries combined
contribute 7% of the Gross State Product. Processing our wide variety of products
generates billions of dollars throughout Louisiana each year, creates a prominent
job market, contributes revenues, and provides products for the consumers.
While every effort is made to mill Louisiana’s natural and agricultural resources
as efficiently as possible, there are residues left over from processing – sawdust,
bagasse, rice hulls, cotton gin trash, etc. In the forests and fields, there are
also residues from harvesting – treetops, straw, corn stover, etc. These materials
can be utilized for energy. In addition, with Louisiana’s fertile soils and mild
climate, there is always the potential to grow crops expressly for energy.
With fluctuating fuel prices, the need for a variety of efficient energy sources
has become crucial to our nation’s economy and security. With its climate, oil &
gas infrastructure, and transportation network, Louisiana has an opportunity to
become a leader in biomass energy.
Energy from Wood
The forest products industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the
state. Most of the land in the Florida parishes and in central and northern Louisiana
is covered with timber. This industry is a great asset to our state.
Like all businesses, there is always room for improved efficiency and utilization.
Logging slash (treetops and limbs) is usually left in the woods to provide nutrients
for the next generation of trees. If utilized for energy, it would provide enough
energy to supply 140,000 homes.
Residues left over after milling can be expensive to dispose of and can take up
a large amount of space in our state’s limited landfills. These remaining residues
could be utilized either to generate electricity or to increase the available energy
Louisiana’s forest products industry includes some 173 sawmills, plywood mills,
panel mills, veneer mills, and pulp/paper mills that are scattered throughout the
state. Together they produce more than seven million tons (dry tons equivalent)
of wood residues annually, nearly all of which are utilized by the industry for
energy. Most mills utilize what they need for their own energy needs (such as lumber
drying kilns or veneer driers) and sell the rest to other mills, usually to pulp
and paper mills, which require a lot of energy and generate most of their own electricity.
Still, some 17,000 dry tons (equivalent) annually is known to go unutilized.
Louisiana’s secondary forest products industry (cabinet shops, architectural millwork,
furniture & pallet manufacturers, etc.) produces 44,000 tons of wood residues annually.
This includes wood trimmings, sawdust, and sanderdust. Most of it is already dry
(roughly 12% moisture content), so it has higher energy. Somewhere between 9,000
and 14,000 dry tons equivalent goes unutilized. Much of the planer shavings that
are sold goes to horse bedding.
Energy from Agronomic
Louisiana has a prominent agricultural industry, as can be seen by anyone who drives
through this state. The sugarcane, rice, soybean, corn and cotton fields are clearly
visible to motorists.
Rice generates three types of residue: straw, hulls, and bran. Rice straw is usually
left in the fields during and after collection to prevent erosion of the topsoil.
The straw is sometimes grazed by cattle or crawfish and then plowed back into the
field for nutrients. Possible uses of rice hulls include compost, abrasives for
polishing, additives in hand soap, conditioners for fertilizers, and energy. In
winter, the bran is mixed with rice hulls to make cattle feed.
About 96% of the bagasse produced by sugar mills is utilized, mostly as fuel to
run the mills. Other uses include paper, ceiling tiles, industrial boards, and compost.
Soybean straw (stems) is usually left in the fields to prevent erosion. It can also
be used as livestock bedding or burned for fuel.
From an energy standpoint, the residues from all forestry and agronomic residues
are similar. For example, any of these residues can be used to make electricity,
synthetic gas, ethanol, or biodiesel. The choices of products and residue types
are determined by economics and availability.
- Cornelis F. de Hoop, forest products,
- S. Joseph Chang, forest products, SChang@agcenter.lsu.edu
- Gary A. Breitenbeck , agronomic crops,
- Rodney D. Hendrick, agronomic mill residues,
- Chandra Theegala, animal & human wastes,
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