Science & Technology

Forestry Extension helps Develop, Demonstrate Mobile Pyrolysis Unit

The Washington Department of Natural Resources sponsored a demonstration of Amaron Energy’s new mobile pyrolysis unit Oct. 22 and 23 at the Willis Enterprise Chip Plant in Cle Elum, Wash. The unit was developed with assistance from Utah State University Forestry Extension and the Utah Biomass Resources Group.

One of the first devices of its kind in North America, the new pyrolysis machine can convert 20 tons of biomass (materials from plants and animals that can be used for energy) into biofuel in a day. The process includes baking biomass material in the absence of oxygen causing the material to thermally decompose. It then creates biochar, a charcoal-like substance that can be used as a soil amendment; bio oil, which can be used in furnaces for heating and steam production and can also be refined and used as a transportation fuel; and bio gas, which can be used to power the mobile pyrolysis machine, thus creating a nearly self-sustaining cycle.

Pyrolysis can be conducted with any input product that contains carbon, including trees, grasses and invasive weeds. Pyrolysis creates high-value by-products that offer alternative and sustainable fuel options and soil amendments that can enhance plant productivity.

Organizers at the event will process waste wood and generate high-value, sustainable biochar products. Waste wood is a common by-product associated with typical forest harvest operations. This low-value wood is often left in the forest to decompose. Using the low-value wood is not an option for most producers because the transportation cost associated with moving it is high. A mobile pyrolysis unit will provide substantial value for foresters because the waste wood can be utilized onsite and converted to biochar, bio oil and bio gas.

For more information on the pyrolysis unit or the demonstration, contact Darren McAvoy at 435-797-0560 or

Related link:

USU Forestry Extension

Contact: Darren McAvoy, 435-797-0560,

Writer: Megan Dettenmaier, 435-797-8424,

a technician in the mobile pryolysis unit

A technician operating the mobile pyrolysis unit.

a field demonstration of a mobile pyrolysis unit

A field demonstration of the mobile pyrolysis unit.

the interior of the mobile pyrolysis unit

Inside the mobile pyrolysis unit.


Land-Grant 110stories Energy 77stories Biofuels 20stories

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