University of Kentucky CAER Home

CAER Seminars

Woody Biomass for Kentucky's Green Energy: Supply Chain and Logistics Challenges

Speaker:
Tom Kimmerer
Moore Ventures LLC

Date:
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 10:00am
Ben Bandy Conference Center
UK Center for Applied Energy Research

Abstract:
Kentucky is in a 'sweet spot' for biomass production, with productive but underused farm land and forest land. As interest rises in the Ohio Valley for biomass feedstock for combustion and liquid fuel production, Kentucky could be well positioned to be a major player in the biomass supply chain, with important implications for the rural economy. Before Kentucky can play a major role as a biomass provider, we have to overcome significant challenges in the biomass supply chain. The loss of jobs and talent in the logging industry, the lack of access to capital for major equipment purchases and the lack of sustainability standards for biomass provisioning need to be overcome before Kentucky can reach its potential as a major player in the biomass industries.

The 'chicken-or-egg' problem is significant: biomass consumers are reluctant to commit to projects without assured fuel supplies, and biomass producers are reluctant to commit to capital expenses in the absence of a clearly defined market. We will discuss these challenges in the context of creating a framework for Kentucky to move forward in the emerging biomass industries.