Assessing and Improving the Availability, Reliability and Sustainability of Biomass Fuel
If you’re considering a biomass energy system, you need the best possible information about the fuel supply. Knowing what types and quantities of biomass fuel are available in your region is essential in deciding if your biomass energy system will be successful: How much resource is there? Where is it? How much will it cost? And, how will increased demand for these resources impact your ability to reliably receive biomass fuel in the future?
BERC’s resource assessments focus on planning individual biomass projects, assisting with fuel procurement, developing fuel specifications, providing economic analyses and projections of future supply and pricing, and working in support of programs to ensure quality fuel. Detailed study reports provide substantial documentation and an important tool for decision-making around biomass energy projects.
BERC can help you understand the available types of fuels, their volumes and pricing, and the logistics and sustainability of their sourcing.
BERC works to integrate and strengthen the critical links in the biomass fuel supply chain. Towards this end, BERC’s experienced and skilled staff can provide basic information, technical assistance, resources, and answers to your questions, or we can offer the following services.
Regional Fuel Supply Assessments
BERC can identify sources of biomass fuel in your region or surrounding your facility and assess the availability, reliability, and pricing of this biomass fuel. These can include wood residues, harvested low-grade wood, manufactured biomass fuels, agricultural residues, and dedicated energy crops; BERC has assessed everything from clean community wood wastes to manure to grasses to cherry pits for fuel. Both the existing and potential future demand for these materials are factored to get a sense for the volumes that could be available to meet your project’s anticipated demand.
Similar to the regional assessments described above, BERC can identify and quantify potential biomass fuel sources from within a cost-effective delivery radius surrounding a proposed or existing facility. These assessments can be very preliminary in nature or they can be highly detailed; either way, the result is an increased understanding of the availability, reliability, and pricing of biomass fuels for your project.
Economic Analysis and Supply Curve Projection
The economics of biomass fuel supply is extremely important and procurement costs vary widely depending on the fuel type and source. BERC can combine the results of a resource assessment with an analysis of pricing to develop supply curves that illustrate the approximate amount and pricing of different fuel sources.
Fuel Procurement Assistance
BERC can help clients move beyond fuel supply assessment to fuel procurement by identifying specific biomass fuel suppliers and assessing their capacity and reliability to supply fuels; pre-qualifying suppliers; developing bid documents and managing fuel supply solicitations; and developing, negotiating, and securing fuel supply contracts. Additionally, BERC can recommend strategies to develop fuel procurement guidelines and verification systems that address goals for sustainable sourcing. BERC has years of experience in working with biomass fuel purchasers and suppliers and can offer the advice and resources to develop successful supply contracts.
Fuel Specification Development
Not all biomass fuels are created equal and fuel quality varies widely depending on the type, source, material handling, and storage. And, the performance of your biomass energy system and overall success is linked to fuel quality. BERC can assist by developing appropriate fuel specifications properly matched to the size and type of biomass energy system in use. BERC is currently leading an initiative to develop a national woodchip heating fuel quality standard. Learn more at - https://www.woodchipstandard.org/
Fuel Quality Assurance
Over time, owners and operators of many biomass energy projects require periodic quality assurances that the fuel they are buying and using meets the equipment specifications in place. Alternatively, fuel suppliers may need to show that their product matches a client’s needs. BERC can test and evaluate a variety of biomass feedstocks for characteristics such as shape and size, fines content, moisture content, ash content, and more. Additionally, BERC can help to develop simple and cost-effective methods for site owners and operators to verify fuel quality on their own.
BERC conducts objective studies for both energy projects and fuel supply throughout the United States. Our full-time professional staff of 13 has been assisting public and private clients for the past 10 years with technical resources ranging from basic information and education to detailed comprehensive fee-for-service assessments that meet specific needs.