Biomass

The biomass portion of this website contains the Arkansas Biomass Resource Assessment. This study was funded by a grant from the Department of Energy, through the Southern States Energy Board, to the Arkansas Energy Office (AEO). Partners in the project include AEO, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The purpose of this study is to inform public policy makers and agency program planners, private sector entrepreneurs, equipment vendors, and potential investors, public utilities so that they can more effectively quantify target feedstocks and identify target locations for bioenergy systems in the state of Arkansas.

The results of this study are presented in four categories – agriculture, forestry, animal, and municipal – which make up 52%, 28%, 14%, and 7% of the biomass resource, respectively. Detailed information, maps and links to the data in dowloadable Excel format are accessible throughout the site.

Arkansas has an excellent biomass resource potential. An estimated 19.8 billion kWh of electricity could be generated using renewable biomass fuels in Arkansas. This is enough electricity to fully supply the annual needs of 1,979,000 average homes, or 150 percent of the residential electricity use in Arkansas. These biomass resource supply figures are based on estimates for five general categories of biomass: urban residues, mill residues, forest residues, agricultural residues, and energy crops. Of these potential biomass supplies and the quantities cited below, most forest residues, agricultural residues, and energy crops are not presently economic for energy use.

Wood is the most commonly used biomass fuel for heat and power. The most economic sources of wood fuels are usually urban residues and mill residues. Urban residues used for power generation consist mainly of chips and grindings of clean, non-hazardous wood from construction activities, woody yard and right-of-way trimmings, and discarded wood products such as waste pallets and crates. Local governments can encourage segregation of clean wood from other forms of municipal waste to help ensure its re-use for mulch, energy, and other markets. Using clean and segregated biomass materials for electricity generation recovers their energy value while avoiding landfill disposal. Mill residues, such as sawdust, bark, and wood scraps from paper, lumber, and furniture manufacturing operations are typically very clean and can be used as fuel by a wide range of biomass energy systems. The estimated supplies of urban and mill residues available for energy uses in Arkansas are 667,000 and 4,705,000 dry tons per year, respectively. 

Wood is the most commonly used biomass fuel for heat and power. Photo: NREL

Forest residues include underutilized logging residues, imperfect commercial trees, dead wood, and other non-commercial trees that need to be thinned from crowded, unhealthy, fire-prone forests. Because of their sparseness and remote location, these residues are usually more expensive to recover than urban and mill residues. The estimated supply of forest residues for Arkansas is 1,738,000 dry tons per year.
Agricultural residues are the biomass materials remaining after harvesting agricultural crops. These residues include wheat straw, corn stover (leaves, stalks, and cobs), orchard trimmings, rice straw and husks, and bagasse (sugar cane residue). Due to the high costs for recovering most agricultural residues, they are not yet widely used for energy purposes; however, they can offer a sizeable biomass resource if supply infrastructures are developed to economically recover and deliver them to energy facilities. An estimated 984,000 dry tons per year is available from corn stover and wheat straw in Arkansas. 

Agricultural residue, such as this corn stover, can serve as a source for biomass. Photo: NREL 

Energy crops are crops developed and grown specifically for fuel. These crops are carefully selected to be fast-growing, drought and pest resistant, and readily harvested alternative crops. Energy crops include fast-growing trees, shrubs, and grasses such as hybrid poplars, hybrid willows, and switchgrass, respectively. In addition to environmental benefits, energy crops can provide income benefits for farmers and rural land owners. For Arkansas, the production potential for energy crops is estimated at 5,510,000 million dry tons per year.

 

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Download study attachments
  • NREL BioEnergy Atlas

    Built into Google Maps, BioEnergy Atlas includes two interactive maps, BioPower and BioFuels. These maps allow you to compare and analyze biomass feedstocks, biopower and biofuels data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Learn more>>

  • Bioenergy KDF

    Similar to the BioEnergy Atlas, this tool supported by the Department of Energy incorporates data shared by government and the bioenergy industry.  The KDF examines the economic and environmental impacts of development options for biomass feedstock production, biorefineries, and related infrastructure. Learn more>>

  • Regional Strategy for Biobased Products in the Mississippi Delta

    A key group of regional leadership organizations has established a comprehensive strategic plan for growing the bioeconomy in 98 counties located along the Mississippi River in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

    To download the study >>