Gov. Inslee announces grant to study producing heating oil and charcoal from forest waste

September 30, 2014

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Nearly $1.4 million has been awarded this year for nine projects targeting clean energy development across the state

OLYMPIA, WA --- As part of his statewide climate tour, Gov. Jay Inslee visited the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia Community College today where he announced a $20,000 grant to support Onalaska Wood Energy’s efforts to transform woody bio-mass into fuel-grade heating oil and charcoal.

“We have committed Washington state to lead the way in addressing the challenges of climate change and seizing opportunities to secure our clean energy economy,” Inslee said. “This funding supports innovative technology at Onalaska Wood Energy to produce marketable energy products and jobs.”

Woody biomass is the waste resulting from forest health treatments, fire hazard prevention, commercial thinning and harvest activity. The grant from the state Department of Commerce will be used by Onalaska Wood Energy for a feasibility study.

Onalaska Wood Energy seeks to be the first commercial-scale effort of its kind in Washington. The charcoal has domestic and overseas markets in the form of briquettes, and agricultural soil amendment and activated carbon in the form of biochar. The biocrude can be used to replace traditional heating oil or be supplied to a petroleum refinery for co-processing in to a variety of fuels.

“So far this year, we have been able to repurpose nearly $1.4 million in U.S. Forest Service Funds to support clean energy technology development,” said Brian Bonlender, Director, Washington State Department of Commerce. “Our Forest Products Financial Assistance Program is helping Washington companies pursue opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and create jobs in the clean energy sector.”

Another $200,000 will be made available through a second competitive grant round this fall. To date, eight other projects have been funded to support a range of new technology development including:

  • Cosmo Specialty Fiber ($43,500): Technology and market feasibility study of potential biorefining co-products resulting from mill operations in Cosmopolis
  • Impact Washington ($300,000): Operational assessments of wood products manufacturers, followed by consulting engagements with high-potential companies that focus on product diversification and process re-engineering, increased sales, new products and productivity savings
  • WSU Energy ($400,000): Inventory of K-12 public school facilities using fossil fuels other than natural gas for thermal needs, assessment of feasibility and interest in converting to alternate energy sources, selection and technical studies for primary candidates, conversion of two schools to densified biomass fuel, assessment of resulting air emissions, and cost-savings
  • Inland Empire Paper ($170,000): Development of algae-based water treatment system for advanced removal of nutrients and other contaminants from Inland Empire Paper Company’s wastewater treatment system
  • Port of Port Townsend ($50,000): Demonstrated use of waste carbon biochar from Port Townsend Paper mill to filter metals from stormwater at the Boat Haven Marine Industrial Park
  • Kittitas Chamber ($50,000): Feasibility study of heat and power cogeneration at Central Washington University using biomass derived from forest health treatments
  • Hampton Lumber ($150,000): Offset fuel expenses associated with closure of Highway 530 due to the recent landslide and use of an alternate route to deliver raw logs to the mill and finished wood products to markets
  • Wind River Biomass ($200,000): Procurement and transport of wood gasification system for combined heat and power utility to be located in Skamania County

Media Contact 

Jaime Smith
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office
360.902.4136