Digging into New Subject Matter

By Lisa Gibson | April 03, 2012

This is yet another issue of Biomass Power & Thermal packed with great content and I’m pleased to finally release it to you. Among a number of pertinent topics, we touch this month on an avenue of feedstock transportation that hasn’t prompted much chatter in the biomass industry: inland waterways.

That’s not to say the subject never comes up, but until very recently, I haven’t heard much about it. It seems most pellet companies and other biomass-related operations look first to railways when evaluating how best to get feedstock from point A to point B.

But a few projects are, in fact, structured around access to river barges, including one by A New Leaf Energy, which Associate Editor Anna Austin explores for an article in the Fired Up section this month. In addition, Associate Editor Luke Geiver has crafted a feature article around the use of inland waterways for biomass transport, beginning with developing plans in Britain to use decades-old canal systems to move both raw material and pellets. He expands his coverage into the potential for similar strategies in the U.S., including the use of the Mississippi River. It’s certainly an exciting prospect.

In keeping with the issue’s theme of feedstock handling, Anna also examines the circumstances dictating whether direct pipeline injection or power generation holds more promise for methane-emitting operations. Pipeline injection is another topic covered this month that I hope will drum up interest and discussion, having been given little in the past.

And I hope you’ll be reading all our thought-provoking coverage between panel sessions at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in Denver, Colo., or as you’re preparing for it. The event’s agenda is impressive and includes for the first time a forest health seminar. The Rocky Mountain Forest Restoration & Bioenergy Summit is an exciting addition because it shows that the biomass industry is without a doubt concerned about forest sustainability and vitality. There seems to be a misunderstanding among critics that our industry wants to clear cut forests without regard for their continued growth. That is fundamentally untrue and I’m proud that this biomass conference will feature discussions aimed specifically at forest restoration.

The number of new topics in this issue is, I think, a testament to the evolution and innovation of the biomass industry, and an indication of the torrent of new talking points that will arise at the conference.  You won’t be able to get enough of us.