Kentucky River Properties currently has over 15,000 acres of reclaimed surface mine lands scattered throughout its holdings in Eastern Kentucky. The company is in the process of undergoing an aggressive internal evaluation to determine the highest and best use for this reclaimed land, which, to this point, has only been utilized for small hay and pastureland operations. Biomass is one possible solution to put these properties back into useful production and provide opportunities for our local population to find employment away from, or as a supplement to the coal industry. Biomass is organic matter derived from living, or recently living organisms. Biomass can be used as a source of energy and it is most often derived from plants or plant-based materials that are not used for food or feed. When used as a renewal energy source, biomass can either be used directly via combustion to produce heat, or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel.
Short Rotation Forestry is the production of wood fuel through the cultivation of high-yielding trees at close spacing on short time rotations. Species such as willow and poplar are ideal for Short Rotation Forestry, as they are easy to establish, fast growing, suitable for a variety of sites and resistant to pests and disease.
Wood wastes or by-products from wood processing industries e.g. chips, bark and sawdust, can also be used to generate biofuels. These are used within sawmills and board mills to provide heat for drying or space heating and to raise steam for the manufacturing process. However, surplus quantities are generally available on the open market and utilized for wood pellets, etc.