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Environment & Natural Resources
Louisiana Biomass Resources Database
The Louisiana Biomass Resources Database website.

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):

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Parish Totals
Then by
biomass type;
Company Search
Search by Company name,
parish, zip or type industry
Map Tools,
Which is essentially an
alternative presentation
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.


Logging Residues (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.


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:
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.


Why Louisiana?
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 Residues:
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 within Louisiana.

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 Residues:
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.




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