West Virginia University will host an educational conference on the use of wood waste as an alternative energy source June 29-30 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Morgantown. The conference is sponsored by WVU s Appalachian Hardwood Center (AHC), the West Virginia Development Office and the United States Department of Energys Southeastern Biomass State and Regional Cooperative.

Almost 80 percent, or 11 million acres of West Virginia is forested,said Shawn Grushecky, a research associate at the AHC .This resource supports a thriving wood products industry that contributes approximately 4 billion dollars to the state’s economy each year.

The majority of the waste products produced by this industry can serve as a fuel source for bioenergy systems,he added.The increased use of wood residues for bioenergy systems could help reduce the dependence on fossil-fuel sources, while promoting the health of the forest and increasing the marketability of forest products in the Appalachian region.

Invited speakers will cover topics ranging from the wood products supply chain and wood residue produced, to the barriers that may need to be addressed. Several current users of wood biomass will present case studies on how their businesses effectively use wood biomass for energy. This will include the obstacles they encountered and details on the specific systems they chose to employ.

Attendees will leave this conference with a good knowledge on the use of wood for energy in commercial, educational and institutional situations,Grushecky said.

For additional information or to reserve a space for the conference, contact Grushecky or Tami Milush with the Appalachian Hardwood Center. A $25 registration fee can be paid by check or credit card. More information can also be obtained from the AHC webpage at www.ahc.caf.wvu.edu./woodconf .

The Appalachian Hardwood Center is a joint effort of the Division of Forestry in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, and the WVU Extension Service. It provides relevant natural resource-based outreach programs, technical assistance, and research for businesses, communities and individuals located in the Appalachian forest region; these efforts, where possible, promote multiple uses of natural resources in ways that are sustainable and compatible.