Biomass-to-Electricity: Pilot-Scale Testing of Baseload Compared to Flexible Power

Utilizing a novel gasifier to evaluate three pathways for converting biomass to electricity.

Taylor Energy


Riverside, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The project team has performed pilot-scale demonstrations of three different energy pathways for conversion of woody biomass to electricity. After identifying the optimal pathway, extended testing was performed and the technical, economic, and environmental performance of a commercial-scale facility was evaluated via modeling and simulation. The project team submitted their final report and is currently being reviewed internally.

The Issue

In 2016, the U.S. Forest Service reported the estimated occurrence of over 102 million dead and dying trees in California's forests. This buildup of dry fuel increases the likelihood of large wildfires, which have significant negative impacts to the environment, human health, and safety. Disposal of these dead and dying trees is necessary to mitigate wildfire risk, however, it is extremely expensive and has been difficult to recover the costs. Adoption of community-scale bioenergy systems can create a sink for forest wood waste that generates renewable electricity and local revenue. There is a need to identify technologies that can cost-effectively convert forest waste biomass to energy.

Project Innovation

The project tests and evaluates three different energy pathways for conversion of woody biomass to electricity. The three pathways tested with the pilot-scale gasifier system are: 1) clean fuel gas production for baseload power generation, 2) syngas to Fischer-Tropsch liquid production for storage and flexible power generation, and 3) direct bio-crude production for storage and flexible power generation. Results from the three pathways will be compared and an optimal pathway will be identified for extended testing. After performing extended testing of the optimal pathway, the technical, environmental, and economic performance of a full-scale facility will be evaluated.

Project Benefits

This project will test and evaluate new biomass-to-energy pathways, which is critical to meeting several of California's energy goals and provides numerous economic, environmental, and safety benefits to California ratepayers.

Lower Costs


The technology provided a 20 percent improvement in cost-effectiveness compared to existing systems and would be capable of delivering power at $0.118/kWh for a full-scale system.

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

The technology significantly reduced criteria pollutant emissions compared to conventional biomass boiler generator systems.

Increase Safety


Increased use of forest waste biomass can reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, which can have major impacts on human health and safety.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Donald Taylor

General Manager
Taylor Energy



University of California, Riverside


Tech Fab


Contact the Team