Janaki Alavalapati says the forest biofuel market is evolving

Forest scientist Janaki Alavalapati talks about how a forest-based energy industry might boost rural economies.

Renewable energy is on everyone’s mind, and some energy scientists are looking toward forests as a possible source of clean, renewable energy from liquid biofuel. They’re not talking about using whole large trees, but small diameter trees and brush cleared from forests.

Janaki Alavalapati: They are very, very happy to see that this kind of market is evolving.

That’s Janaki Alavalapati speaking of the U.S. forest industry. He’s head of Virginia Tech’s Department of Forestry. He said offshore competition has affected the profitability of U.S. forestry operations. Regulations designed to protects forests – and changes in consumption patterns – are also influencing a decline in the demand for wood products. That’s why he said forest owners see the forest bioenergy market as a potential source of profit during tough times.

Janaki Alavalapati: And they are hoping this is going to help them be in their business.

Alavalapati said that because forests are located in rural areas, a forest-based energy industry might also boost rural economies. He spoke of a recent study that looked at the economic and employment impacts of a planned 40-megawatt biopower plant.

Janaki Alavalapati: That plant is expected to generate about $20 million revenues and 370 jobs, and most of these things are going to be in rural areas.

Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.

Our thanks to Janaki Alavalapati
Janaki Alavalapati is a professor of Forest Resource Economics and Policy and head of the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech University. With an advanced degree in Forest Economics, his research focuses on exploring market solutions for natural resources, energy, and environmental problems/issues at local, regional, and international level.