Humboldt State University

Schatz Energy Research Center


Bundles of woody biomass.

Woody forest biomass is already an important renewable energy resource in rural northern California for central power generation and for distributed use as a home heating fuel. There is potential to increase biomass’s contribution to our regional energy mix even further, and to do so sustainably. However, R&D is needed to solve a number of technical problems and bring new biomass energy technologies to market.

We are currently working on a major forest biomass energy research project in partnership with HSU’s forestry department and researchers, entrepreneurs, and natural resource management agencies from a number of western and midwestern states. The "Waste to Wisdom" project will examine the entire supply chain of biomass, including collection, transportation, and pre-treatment of the material in the woods, as well as conversion of the material into energy and other marketable products using a variety of emerging technologies. SERC’s role in the project is to oversee the testing and evaluation of three different types of biomass conversion technologies (BCTs): a biochar unit, a torrefier, and a briquetter. See the Waste to Wisdom website for more information and to stay apprised of project events.

During the period 2007-2010, we acquired and operated a biomass gasifier as part of a project funded by the Indonesian Sugar Group. See our archived page on the gasifier project for more information.

From 2010 through 2012, SERC worked in partnership with Renewable Fuel Technologies to develop, test, and commercialize a biomass torrefaction system. See our torrefaction page for more information about this work.