Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wood Science and Technology

Committee Chair

Jingxin Wang.


Woody biomass is evolving as a potential bioenergy feedstock at an industrial scale to provide the required supply for industries relying on these resources at necessary levels and feasible costs. In order to effectively utilize woody biomass for energy, it is essential to know in advance the availability of biomass, the equivalent energy provided, and the associated procurement costs. Expert systems, using computer based programming and containing knowledge bases reflecting the knowledge of human experts in the field, are being used in industrial facilities for real time problem analysis and knowledge enhancement. This study draws on this approach and attempts to fill gaps in energy information by designing an expert system capable of predicting the amount of biomass residue, energy equivalent provided, and the cost of procurement for biomass availability across the state of West Virginia. The system employs the latest web based database technique in providing real time and continuous feedback to its intended users. Procurement distance, biomass handling systems, and associated costs needed to collect required energy amounts are primary factors in the analysis tool. Biomass availability, procurement distance, and delivered costs were analyzed under different biomass feedstocks, equipment combinations, and operational conditions. The developed knowledge base system can be used to promote sustainable and efficient utilization of woody biomass in West Virginia.