Biomass Energy in Montana

What is Biomass Energy?

Biomass is any organic material that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. Biomass is considered the oldest source of renewable energy because of its earlier uses for fire. Biomass energy is considered a renewable energy resource because it can re-grow over a relatively short period of time. This energy can be used as a source of heat and/or electric power or liquid fuels. Wood is the best known source for biomass energy in the United States. Other biomass resources include agricultural residues, organic components of municipal and solid waste, and terrestrial and aquatic crops.

Biomass fuels provide about 3 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. There is currently one biomass cogeneration facility in Montana at Stoltze Land and Lumber Company in Columbia Falls. That facility is 2.5 megawatts and sells power to Flathead Electric Cooperative.

Program Reports and Publications

Below is a list of project summaries or supporting articles related to the Montana Bioenergy Program, and most are available upon request. Requests for SAE papers and a few other documents can be made to the authors or publishers. Additionally, some documents can be sent via e-mail.

Map: Participating Sawmills in Biomass Energy Feasibility Study

Biomass Energy Projects

  • F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Woody Biomass Co-generation Plant
    • The Stoltze biomass energy project is located onsite at the Stoltze lumbermill in Columbia Falls, Montana. The project is a $22 million co-generation plant and is 2.5 megawatts. The energy produced from this project supplies electricity for about 2,500 homes. It is a co-generation plant because it generates electricity from the heat produced from burning wood waste such as bark and sawdust.