Cleaner Air, Cleaner Energy: Converting Forest Fire Management Waste to On Demand Renewable Energy

Demonstrating a mobile biomass gasifier to convert forest slash biomass into renewable energy.

All Power Labs, Inc.


Berkeley, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

The 150-kW Powertainer (PT) demonstrated how a containerized and portable gasification system could address the tree mortality crisis by converting forestry waste into clean, renewable energy and sequestering carbon at locations that can best utilize available fuel. During the 40 hours of performance testing, the technology met the majority of the performance targets set in the testing plan; however, the PT was not able to reach the expected electrical output of 150 kW during this test period. The system achieved 100 kW at maximum power with stable power production at 50 kW. The PT progressed from a technology readiness level of 4 to 6. The next generation of the Powertainer is targeted to advance the TRL to a commercial readiness level.

The Issue

California has an opportunity to help achieve the state's renewable energy goals using biomass from forest management. Gasification is a key technology for forest biomass-to-energy conversion that can increase reliability, lower costs, cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and help reduce the risks from forest fires. Current related technologies are not profitable at distributed scales. Further, any negative environmental impacts from the use of forest waste and biomass resources in the state must be mitigated with appropriate technology and management strategy.

Project Innovation

This project aims to design, deploy, and test a 150 kilowatt-electric (kWe) modular, mobile biomass gasification generator (the Powertainer) that converts forest slash biomass into on-demand renewable energy that meets the California Air Emission Standards. The results of the demonstration will inform the optimal siting of such systems to enhance grid stability and the impact of monetizing current forest waste as fuel on forest thinning, hydrological resources, and wildfire risk.

Project Benefits

This project develops and demonstrates a high-capacity, mobile conversion system capable of cost-effectively converting forest biomass near where it is sourced into renewable, on-demand energy to help address a myriad of issues associated with climate change, including drought, fires, and the need for more renewable energy.

Lower Costs


The project uses increased forest thinning to produce renewable energy more economically via a low cost modular and mobile biomass gasification technology that is able to have a levelized cost of energy at or below SB1122 incenti

Environmental & Public Health

Environmental Sustainability

The deployment of the Powertainer to address the tree mortality crisis would require 9,589 units of 150 kW and consume 10 million bone dry ton per year at a capacity factor of 60 percent. This scenario would produce 7,560-gigawat

Greater Reliability


The Powertainer has the potential to offer flexibility in meeting location-specific needs while supporting critical operations and mitigating fire events. For a 150 KW Powertainer unit running one full year at a 60% capacity fact

Key Project Members

Project Member

Tom Price

Director, Strategic Initiatives



Placer County Air Pollution Control District


Sierra Pacific Industries


Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab


The Regents of the University of California


Center for Forestry/Forest Products Laboratory


Match Partners


All Power Labs, Inc.


Contact the Team