Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (485 KB)

Title: Financial performance of a mobile pyrolysis system used to produce biochar from sawmill residues

Author: Kim, Dongyeob; Anderson, Nathaniel McLean; Chung, Woodam;

Date: 2015

Source: Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Primary wood products manufacturers generate significant amounts of woody biomass residues that can be used as feedstocks for distributed-scale thermochemical conversion systems that produce valuable bioenergy and bioproducts. However, private investment in these technologies is driven primarily by financial performance, which is often unknown for new technologies with limited industrial deployment. In this paper, we use shift-level production data collected during a 25-day field study to characterize the conversion rate and system productivity and costs for a commercially available pyrolysis system co-located at a sawmill, and then evaluate the net present value (NPV) of the operation in light of a cost structure that is realistic for the industry. Baseline costs on a feedstock throughput basis were estimated as $16.41 t-1 for feedstock preparation, $308.14 t-1 for conversion, and $65.99 t-1 for biochar bagging. The NPV estimated for the worst-case scenario of observed productivity and conversion rate was -$536,031 for a 10-year project period, while the best case scenario generated an NPV of $467,353. In general, NPV is highly sensitive to labor costs and biochar price, and less sensitive to fuel cost and interest rate. Results also show clear opportunities for technical and operational improvements that are expected to increase the financial viability of this system.

Keywords: mobile pyrolysis system, biochar, sawmill residues, wood products, woody biomass, bioenergy, bioproducts

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Kim, Dongyeob; Anderson, Nathaniel McLean; Chung, Woodam. 2015. Financial performance of a mobile pyrolysis system used to produce biochar from sawmill residues. Forest Products Journal. 65(5/6): 189-197.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.