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Two Alaska Communities Awarded Forest Service Wood Innovation Grants


JUNEAU, Alaska—May 31, 2017. Two Alaska communities were awarded Forest Service Wood Innovation Grants; the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Native Village of Tazlina. These two grants are part of the 38 grants awarded nationally after a rigorous competitive process. The goal of the grants is to substantially expand and accelerate wood energy and wood products markets through-out the United States to support forest management needs on National Forest System and other forest lands.


The Fairbanks North Star Borough was awarded $217,945 for the design, installation, operation and performance monitoring of a wood gasification, combined heat and power (CHP) system that will provide heat and power to the borough’s Big Dipper ice rink.


  • This small-scale gasification CHP system, sourced from Finland, is the first of its kind installed in Alaska, and among the first in North America.
  • The wood chip fuel will be sourced from local, sustainably-managed forests, creating local jobs and keeping energy money circulating through the local economy;
  • The technology has the potential to save rural Alaska installations over $200,000 per year;
  • This installation will displace 20,000 gallons of heating fuel per year and save the Borough an estimated $40,000 annually in heating and electricity costs. It will also reduce fossil-fuel-derived CO2 by more than 500,000 pounds;
  • Wood gasification is significantly cleaner than even the best wood boiler, removing the conflict between harnessing local biomass energy resources and improving local PM2.5 air quality; and
  • The total project cost is estimated to be $850,000, with a $290,000 grant from the Alaska Energy Authority (Alaska Emerging Energy Technology Fund) in conjunction with the $217,945 Wood Innovations Grant.
  • http://www.ktoo.org/2017/03/24/technology-fairbanks-ice-rink-help-power-rural-alaska


The Native Village of Tazlina was awarded $27,500 for the planning, engineering design, construction management, and installation of a cordwood-fueled district heating system that will provide heat to the village health clinic and village offices. A greenhouse is planned for the future.


  • This project will provide jobs and improve the economy of Tazlina with a new and stable market for small-diameter and low-value wood;
  • The project will replace old diesel fuel boilers with modern cordwood-fired boilers;
  • The installation is expected to displace 3,000 gallons of heating fuel per year and inject more than $25,000 annually into the local economy;
  • Annually, sixty cords of wood for the system will be sourced from the creation/maintenance of fuel breaks and hazardous forest fuels reduction projects, creating jobs for local residents supplying cordwood and fueling the boilers; 
  • There will be a reduction of fossil-fuel-derived CO2 of nearly 80,000 pounds per year
  • The total project cost is estimated to be ~$300,000 with a ~$271,000 construction grant from the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund in conjunction with the $27,500 Wood Innovations Grant.

For more information about the Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program, please visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r10/communityforests.


The Alaska Region of the Forest Service manages almost 22 million acres of land within the Chugach and Tongass National Forests to meet society’s needs for a variety of goods, services, and amenities while enhancing the Forests’ health and productivity, and to foster similar outcomes for State and private forestland across Alaska. The U.S. Forest service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture.


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