College of Natural Resources

Through a U.S. Forest Service grant, researchers at NC State are testing a machine that harvests small-diameter woody biomass for use as feedstock for electrical power generation. The biomass harvester—a mulching machine on steroids—makes the forest less prone to wild fires and provides the opportunity to restore endangered habitats and associated species. Dr. Joseph Roise, professor of forestry and environmental resources, is taking a differerent approach from growing biomass and extracting ethanol from corn. “What we have is a huge existing resource that could support the energy needs of the South if we can economically convert it,” says Roise. He and other NC State researchers have worked with mulching machine manufacturer FECON, Inc., to devise a machine that can navigate through the forest, grab the small-diameter woody material from the forest understory, reduce it to chips and place it in a collection bin. “Ultimately, the goal for this project is reducing the risk to society of catastrophic fires, while restoring ecosystems and providing energy,” Roise says. “What more could you want?”

College Awards 10-Year Comparison 1998-2007

 

Dr. Joseph Roise