Equipment grants available for innovative uses of woody biomass


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The U.S. Forest Service recently announced $8 million in grant funding available for applied research projects that expand wood product and wood energy markets and improve forest health. Applications for funding will be accepted through January 23, 2019.

Eligible applicants include businesses; State, local, and Tribal governments; school districts; communities; non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; and special purpose districts (e.g. public utility districts, fire districts, conservation districts and ports).

Eligible projects include:

  • Funding for stationary wood energy equipment,
  • Engineering designs, cost analyses, and permitting,
  • Developing manufacturing capacity and markets for wood products
  • Showcasing quantifiable environmental and economic benefits of using wood as a green building material in a commercial building and projected benefits
  • Developing a cluster of wood energy projects in a geographic area or specific market segment (i.e. hospitals, universities, manufacturing sector)
  • Overcoming barriers and stimulating expansion of wood energy in the commercial sector.

This Request for Proposals prioritizes projects which reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health on National Forest System and other forest lands; reduce costs of forest management on all land types; and, promote the economic and environmental health of communities.

Applicants must contribute a 50% match of the grant funds requested from the Forest Service. In other words, for every $2 of Federal funding requested, the applicant must provide at least $1 in match from non-Federal sources. The match portion may include cash or in-kind contributions with third-party letters of support confirming the dollar value of in-kind contributions.

A couple examples of past projects that CERTs has supported or promoted include a biomass heating for poultry project in Albany, MN (report or event summary) and a wood torrefaction project at UMD’s Natural Resources Research Institute lab in Coleraine (report or event summary).

For more information and application materials, check out at the Forest Service’s Wood Innovations webpage.

Want to chat about a potential project? Contact Fritz at CERTs.

Fritz Ebinger Fritz Ebinger is the CERTs Rural Energy Development Program Manager for UofM RSDP and Extension. In this role, he works on energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives with agricultural producers to reduce farm production costs and advance utility conservation planning. Fritz graduated from St. John’s University in 2001 and served in the Peace Corps as an Agroforestry Volunteer in Panama from 2001-2003. He attended Drake Law School, graduating and passing the Minnesota Bar in 2008. While at Drake, he focused on agricultural, environmental, and natural resources law and wrote for the Drake Agricultural Law Journal. Following graduation, Fritz clerked for Judges Joe Chase and Robert Birnbaum in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District from 2008-2010 and was a solo practitioner from 2011-2013. Most recently, he comes to CERTs from The Minnesota Project where he managed their farm energy programs.
Contact info: or 612-626-1028.

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    CERTs Partners:

Minnesota Department of Commerce University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension Great Plains Institute Southwest Regional Development Commission