Economic Viability of Woody Bioenergy Crops as a Potential Mine Reclamation Procedure

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Virginia Tech. Powell River Project


Planting woody biomass for energy production can be used as a mine reclamation procedure to satisfy the SMCRA and provide renewable energy for the United States. This study examines the productivity of woody biomass on previously mined lands using four species planted at two densities; one-half of the trees were fertilized in year two. This report summarizes the current and predicted volume of these species as well as the effect of planting density and fertilizer application. After four years, black locust has the highest volume of any treatment with the other species an order of magnitude behind. Black locust and sycamore trees have reached a point where it is clear that planting at lower density can increase per tree biomass. Future projections indicate planting at low density with fertilization will produce the greatest amount of biomass per tree.