Biomass Thermal Energy: A Cost Effective Alternative

By KBJR News 1

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM CDT

Carlton, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Efforts to improve Minnesota's logging industry, enhancements to renewable energy and ways to improve the state's economy, were all discussed during a conference about biomass thermal energy Thursday in Carlton.

The "Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass" conference at Black Bear welcomed community members to learn more about how they can benefit from biomass heating systems.

Biomass is biological material derived from living, or recently living organisms.

Event officials say in just over a decade 10 percent of all thermal energy will be obtained through biomass.

Throughout the country biomass heating systems are being installed in businesses, healthcare facilities and even homes.

Experts say biomass is a cheaper and renewable alternative to electric and gas units.

"About three percent of the Midwest is heated with biomass. If we can triple that number, we can create tens of thousands of new jobs and economic opportunities. New opportunities for forest management and agricultural residue use," Brian Brashaw, Heating the Midwest Committee member, said.

"You have LP, fuel oil and all that—electric users that we can really effect change by saving them money by increasing jobs in the supply chain with biomass heating," Tony "T.J." Morice, Heating the Midwest Committee member, said.

Experts say in most Midwest economies, where electric and gas fuels are used, there would be a 20 to 50 percent cost savings by switching to a biomass product.

Justin Reis, NNC.