Work on Biomass Misconceptions?

Hi Leslie and Bill,

I am wondering, has there been a discussion among the AFRI-CAP grantees common misconceptions about biomass?

There’s so much misinformation out there, it seems overwhelming.

I’m just now thinking it might be a good concerted social media campaign to counter top misconceptions.

Maybe using #BiomassMyth or something like that, similar to the #BiomassWins hashtag we’ve already discussed.

As an example of a resource that might not be reflecting reality: and <>, which is essentially saying "pellet plants are using whole trees," with a white paper with photo evidence of whole log chipping.

Maybe. There’s nothing stopping them – although even as a forestry outsider it’s hard to imagine any markets where it makes economic sense to chip up whole logs for pellets.

At any rate, this industry web site FAQ counters: what looks like whole logs in photos are actually the unmarketable tops of trees harvested for timber <>.

I also see this come up as a popular example of renewable misconceptions: "Ethanol tears up your engine."

In rebuttal, Renewable Fuels Alliance has this "Ethanol Facts" section:

I just wrote you about how CenUSA is using an "ask" site with eXtension.

I also see we have a special "Wood Energy" board from

Only two questions on it at the moment – which leads me to wonder:

Do we have a list of "top misconceptions about forest bioenergy" that we could post to the forum as FAQs, get them answered, and then maybe embed the questions/answers on the SE-IBSS site with a widget or some other web service? (I don’t know what options are available right now).

If embedding is not possible, another option might be to just post the misconceptions to social media, with a link to the collection on eXtension.

One area of outreach I’ve considered might be memes… one of my favorites is "Philosoraptor."

"Philosoraptor" is one of several "advice animals" who is "deeply immersed in metaphysical inquiries or unraveling quirky paradoxes," at least according to

Here’s an example:

"If ethanol is bad for car engines, why did the T run on ethanol?"

Or "Why do stock cars burn ethanol?"

We can easily generate memes here:


The "common misconceptions" might lend well to being illustrated with a series of memes.

Anyway, just wondering if you know if there’s anything out there about biomass myths that IBSS can address.

If not, I’d be interested in seeing about collecting some of the "top biomass myths."



Tanner M. Jessel
Information Technology Specialist
Center for Renewable Carbon

The University of Tennessee
Institute of Agriculture
Center for Renewable Carbon
Mail: 2506 Jacob Drive
865-946-1162 (o)
865-946-1109 (f)


About Tanner Jessel

I am a recent M.S. in Information Science graduate from the University of Tennessee School of Information Science. I was formerly a graduate research assistant funded by DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth). Prior, I worked for four years as a content lead and biodiversity scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Biodiversity Informatics Program. Building on my work experience in biodiversity and environmental informatics, my work with DataONE focused on exploring the nature of scientific collaborations necessary for scientific inquiry. I also conducted research concerning user experience and usability, and assisted in development of member nodes with an emphasis on spatial data and infrastructure. I assisted with research designed to understand sociocultural issues within collaborative research communities. Through August 1, 2014, I was based at the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Posted on February 3, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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