USDA-NIFA (National Institute for Food and Agriculture) currently funds 7 bioenergy Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAPs) through Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Grants. 

AFRI CAPs 2015
AFRI CAP Biofuel Feedstocks and Project Locations

Explore the NIFA Bioenergy CAPs:

Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB)
Lead Institute:  University of Washington
Awarded:  2011
Feedstock:  Purpose grown woody crops (e.g. poplar)
Conversion platform target: Hybrid bio/thermochemical conversion
Industrial Partners: ZeaChem Inc.

Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA)
Lead Institute:  Washington State University
Awarded:  2011
Feedstock: Forestry residuals

Manufacturing Wood and Grass Pellets

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This module covers the fundamentals of manufacturing biomass pellets on the farm, to be used as a renewable fuel.  Procedures, equipment, and economics are all discussed, with ample time for questions and feedback. 

Link to all of the Northeast Farm Energy IQ Curriculum, developed by Extension specialists from Penn State, Rutgers and University of Vermont.

This is part of the On Farm Energy Production Curriculum Series: 

Bioenergy Feedstock Production | Biodiesel and SVO | Biogas | Wood and Grass

Resources from NEWBio: The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium

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Funded by AFRI. Learn More.

    The Northeast Woody/Warm-season Biomass Consortium (NEWBio) is a regional network of universities, businesses, and governmental organizations dedicated to building robust, scalable, and sustainable value chains for biomass energy in the Northeast. Driven by the broad societal benefits that sustainable bioenergy value chains could provide, NEWBio aims to overcome existing barriers and dramatically increase the sustainable, cost-effective supply of lignocellulosic biomass while reducing net greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing ecosystem services, and building vibrant communities.



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    BCAP Helps Commercialize Shrub Willow for Bioenergy in Northern New York

    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY).
    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY). Photo: Timothy Volk, SUNY ESF.

    Farmers growing shrub willow for bioenergy are helped by a BCAP project in New York State that aims to make the biomass crop more financially viable.





    Table of Contents

    Research Summary: Development of a Single-Pass Cut-and-Chip Harvesting System for Short Rotation Woody Crops

    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY).
    Three-year old willow biomass crops on a four-year old root system prior to first harvest (Auburn, NY). Photo: Timothy Volk, SUNY ESF.

    Woody biomass throughput is tripled using a new single-pass cut-and-chip harvesting system.  Operator experience, crop characteristics, ground conditions, and speed all affect throughput.

    Table of Contents


    Many types of specialized machinery for harvesting short rotation woody crops …

    Poplar (Populus spp.) Trees for Biofuel Production

    If you are looking for a comprehensive article on poplar for biofuel production, this is for you.

    Table of Contents

    Second year growth on poplars at the Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest demonstration site near Jefferson, OR.


    Poplars (Populus spp.) are popular trees …

    Size of ground biomass particles is significant logistically

    by Oladiran Fasin

    As part of preparing biomass for conversion into biofuels, biomass is ground through mills such as a hammer mill (Figure 1) or a knife mill. The ground biomass particles are then fed into conversion vessels and/or stored in hoppers that are often attached to storage vessels (Figure 2). Creating a steady flow of the biomass particles out of the hopper is a significant issue for processing and conversion. Often, biomass flow from storage containers will be disrupted …

    Ben Jackson – University of Georgia

    Ben Jackson is a professor and Timber Harvesting Extension Specialist in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia. He received a PhD in forestry from Texas A&M University.  Currently, he is the leader of the Wood Energy Community of Practice.

    Ben specializes in woody biomass and conventional forest products harvesting and transportations issues, forest road construction, and alternative forest products.   Over the years, he has developed many forestry-related educational products and programs for forest landowners, …

    Technological Processes: Thermochemical


    Woody biomass is converted into useful forms of energy (i.e. solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels) as well as useful products (e.g. polymers, bio-plastics, char, pellets, and acids) using a number of technological processes. Thermochemical processes depend on the relationship between heat and chemical action as a means of extracting and creating products and energy. This fact sheet briefly covers some of the more important thermochemical conversion and production processes used for obtaining bio-based energy and products from woody biomass.…

    Bill Hubbard

    William Hubbard has served as the Regional Forester for the Extension Service-Southern Region since 1993.  This is a liaison to thirteen 1862 University Land Grant University and the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. His work involves using new and traditional technologies in regional educational programming and enhanced communication and coordination of information and activities across states and agencies in the areas of forestry and natural resource management. He previously held several teaching, research and Extension positions at the …