Dan Klein and Phillip Walker - April 2010 Roundtable

Howard Hallman and Sandy Briggs reported on a focus group meeting for the Colorado Statewide Forest Resource Assessment & Strategy Project they recently attended in Glenwood Springs. This was one of six meetings held around the state.

Organized by the Colorado State Forest Service, these discussions are designed to:

1) Initiate dialogue on how to address areas of need identified in the assessment on non-federal forest landscapes and issues that cross non-federal and federal boundaries

2) Identify which of  these areas and needs are already being addressed through existing plans, strategies, partnerships or projects

3) Identify which areas and needs are not being addressed.
 
A statewide assessment report has been developed as an outcome of the project. The report should be released to the public sometime in June. The statewide assessment is a precondition for future receipt of federal funds to improve forest health and related purposes. Inquiries about the project, which is referenced at http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/statewide-forest-assessment.html  should be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
 
Roundtable participants then discussed the fact that generally the public has little appreciation for the economics of beetle kill tree removal. It is expensive while demand for locally sourced wood is negatively affected by below cost wood supply from out of state.
 
Dan Klein and Phillip Walker, representing a group developing a renewable energy conversion system that would convert woodchip and municipal solid waste (MSW) feedstock into biochar, biofuel and electricity, led a discussion about the micro-economics of distributed woody biomass energy systems in Colorado’s mountain communities. The concept presented by Klein and Walker included several key elements for sizing and finance. Highlights:
 
3-4 MW maximum output per system
5 tons/hour minimum feedstock input
60 tons/acre average supply of beetle kill biomass
30% federal tax investment credit a key incentive
Proposed sites are designed to process no less than 14 tons of waste per hour while operating 20 hours a day (280 tons of waste per day) using a combination of separated feedstock, such as wood, MSW and, on larger sites, tires, sewage sludge, etc.  Initially, for the first several years at least, in the mountain communities of Colorado, the group anticipates that beetle killed trees would provide the major source of feedstock.
 
The next Forest Health Task Force Roundtable will take place from 7:30 to 9:00 am, Thursday morning, May 13, 2010 at the Frisco Community Center.