Biomass has supplied approximately nine (9) percent of the total energy used in Idaho in recent years and there is enough biomass waste (forest and logging residue, municipal solid waste, agricultural residues, animal waste, agricultural processing residue) to supply all the energy Idaho uses. The use of bioenergy can help reduce environmental problems, improve local economies and reduce the import of other energy resources.
The Idaho Bioenergy Program's purpose is to help Idaho people and companies take advantage of and make better use of their locally grown, renewable biomass energy resources. It does this by providing technical assistance, offering educational workshops and sharing costs for demonstration projects.
Through support of the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest and Alaska Regional Bioenergy Program and the state of Idaho, the program maintains a full-time technical staff person to assist people interested in bioenergy project development. The technical assistance includes evaluation of plans, referral to equipment vendors and other technical experts and assessment of biomass feedstock supply and bioenergy product markets.
Among the notable bioenergy demonstration projects sponsored by the Idaho Bioenergy Program are the on-the-road demonstration of biodiesel with the University of Idaho, a new wood pellet mill feedstock dryer at the Jensen Lumber mill in southeast Idaho, a biogas cleaning system at the Nampa Wastewater Treatment Plant and a small backpressure turbine at the Ceda-Pine Veneer mill in Samuels. The Idaho Bioenergy Program was also instrumental in the decision of the University of Idaho to install its wood-fired boiler for campus heating and cooling.
Idaho Bioenergy Program staff maintains a close networking relationship with the staffs of other state bioenergy programs in the region, with regional program management, and with a national network of people working in the bioenergy field. Through these and other contacts and information sources, the Idaho Bioenergy Program makes a world of bioenergy information and technical assistance available to Idaho citizens, local government and companies.