OEP and DRED led a study to determine the economic, environmental and technical feasibility of establishing a bio-oil production and utilization industry in New Hampshire. Other partners in the study team included: US and Canadian federal agencies; agencies of several states; universities; forest industry, environmental, and biomass energy organizations; economic development organizations; and private individuals. The final report was published in September, 2004.
Bio-oil (not to be confused with biodiesel) is a renewable, liquid resource that can be obtained from low-grade wood waste by a process known as pyrolysis. This liquid burns cleaner and produces fewer pollutants (e.g., virtually no sulfur emissions) than do coal and oil fuels. Bio-oil has potential uses as a fuel for production of heat and electricity. Eventually, it may have additional, higher value as a feedstock for a "green" chemicals industry.
Bio-oil production and utilization have several potentially beneficial outcomes including: economic support of sustainable forest management practices; renewable, indigenous, carbon-neutral energy supply; creation of jobs and retention of energy dollars in the regional economy; ability to generate and market electricity at peak demand times; possible spinoff business growth through co-location; combined heat and power applications; derivative products and services.
The final project report, Bio-Oil Opportunity Analysis, includes: evaluation of pyrolysis technologies; chemical and physical characterization of bio-oil; availability of feedstock on a sustainable basis; environmental factors from forest ecology through end-uses; market analyses and attractiveness to potential investors. It also includes a Bio-Oil Commercialization Plan and the economic model spreadsheet used in the Plan.
Given the variety of interactive and changing parameters in the analysis, the spreadsheet is included to permit readers to enter their own values for the parameters that influence commercial feasibility. Thus, the report is a living document with a useful life that extends beyond its publication date.
Findings of the above project led OEP to commission two additional efforts, one to assess market potential for products that might be derived from bio-oil, and one to assist interested local stakeholders and investors in establishing a pyrolysis facility in New Hampshire. Results of these latter efforts can be found in New Hampshire Bio-oil Assessment Analysis 2005 and Pyrolysis Oil Bio-Refinery Report . The economic model spreadsheet noted with link above can be used for economic analysis in this second phase also.
Delivered at the Bio-Oil Briefing held on August 16, 2002 in Concord, NH: