On-site energy consumption at softwood sawmills in Montana

Dan Loeffler, Nathaniel Anderson, Todd A. Morgan, Colin B. Sorenson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Total on-site energy requirements for wood product manufacturing are generally not well understood or publicly available, particularly at subregional scales, such as the state level. This article uses a mail survey of softwood sawmills in Montana to develop a profile of all on-site energy consumption. Energy use is delineated by fuel type on a production basis for both renewable and nonrenewable sources for production year 2009. Survey respondents represented 92 percent of total Montana softwood lumber production of 449 million board feet, which is 4 percent of western US production and 2 percent of national production. Total annual on-site sawmill energy required was 1.6 trillion British thermal units. Seventy-seven percent was derived from wood and bark, primarily for process heat and steam for lumber drying; 16 percent was from electricity; 5 percent was from diesel used for on-site rolling stock; and the remainder was from gasoline, propane, and natural gas. Energy produced from renewable sources accounted for 86 percent of total on-site energy consumption. In addition to providing an energy profile of Montana sawmills for policymakers, aggregated results may be useful to individual firms in characterizing their energy requirements relative to the state average and in identifying potential opportunities for bioenergy expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalForest Products Journal
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2016


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