Increased Utilization of Forest Biomass for Energy Production: Greenhouse Gas Benefits and Ecosystem Impacts

In February 2009, the Ontario Government announced the Feed-In Tariff (FIT)Program which will play a premium for electricity that comes from renewable sources – wind, solar and biomass – to help curb fossil fuel emissions. The goal of this internship is to assess using unmerchantable wood – that which is not useful for traditional forest products such as paper and lumber – from Great Lakes – St. Lawrence forests to co-generate heat and electrical power in small gasification plants. The team will determine the costs of harvesting and processing unmerchantable wood and coverting it to gas as well as the revenue from cogenerating heat and electricity. They will also assess the life cycle of the materials, energy and greenhouse gases of the forestry, milling and power plant operations. Finally, they will look at how removing unmerchantable wood affects wildlife habitat and nutrient and carbon cycling.

Faculty Supervisor:

Drs. John Caspersen and Nathan Basiliko


Derek Wolf, Julia Cleary and Katherine Thebeau


Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources






University of Toronto



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