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Putting debris to work: Powering homes in Jackson County with locally-sourced biofuel

Biomass One, L.P. has been independently producing power by processing woody debris on site since 1990. Based in Jackson County, the facility is contracted with the Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) to receive woody debris from the Almeda Drive Fire area. Where woody debris might have laid in piles or found its way into local landfills, Biomass One provided the opportunity to process the debris and use it to produce fuel.

In this video, Biomass One General Manager Kurt Lumpkin explains how woody debris is used to provide electricity to homes in Jackson County:

“On an annual basis, we combust about 200,000 bone-dry tons of material from various sources. In any given year, the energy would produce in the amount of about 180,000 mega-watt hours. That equates to about the energy required on an hourly basis to power 25,000 homes in the area.”

Primarily a processor of forest operations slash, the on-site woody debris processing facility at Biomass One uses controlled combustion to generate fuel. Woody debris is cleaned up, run through a tub grinder and broken down into segments. These segments, called hog fuel, are then put in the hog fuel system to run the plant and produce electricity.

Biomass One currently recovers 70% of the woody debris generated in Jackson County. 700 tons of woody debris has been processed from the Almeda Drive Fire area thus far, with approximately 4,500 tons of material left to process on site at the facility. This includes debris such as logs, shrubs and tree trimmings. Task Force crews take that woody debris from the wildfire-damaged homesites, deliver it to Biomass One and the facility takes care of the rest.

“Just being a resident of not only the Rogue Valley but Phoenix specifically, it’s a huge thing for me to see our area getting clean of debris, instead of it going to a landfill or getting burned on site,” says JJ Aleson, Trucking & Grinding Operations Manager at Biomass One. “Being able to take that, put it back into electricity which then goes out to our community, is huge for me personally because I live out there.”



Wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.

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