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  • Wood was the primary fuel for heating and cooking in homes and businesses, and was used for steam in industries, trains, and boats.
  • Coal had replaced much of the wood used in steam generation.
  • Ethanol was competing with gasoline to be the fuel for cars.
  • Most rural homes were still heated with wood. In towns, coal was displacing wood in homes.
  • Over half of all Americans lived in cities in buildings heated by coal. Rural Americans still heated and cooked with wood. Diesel and gasoline were firmly established as the fuel for trucks and automobiles. Street cars ran on electricity. Railroads and boats used coal and diesel fuel.
  • Electricity and natural gas had replaced wood heat in most homes and commercial buildings.
  • Some Americans used more wood for heating because of higher energy costs. Some industries switched from coal to waste wood. The paper and pulp industry also began to install wood and black liquor boilers for steam and power, displacing fuel oil and coal.
  • Burlington Electric (Vermont) built a 50-megawatt, wood-fired plant with electricity production as the primary purpose. This plant was the first of several built since 1984.
  • Pilot trials of direct wood-fired gas turbine plants were conducted for the first time in Canada and in the United States.
  • The capacity to generate electricity from biomass (not including municipal solid waste) reached 6 gigawatts. Of 190 biomass-fired, electricity-generating facilities, 184 were nonutility generators, mostly wood and paper.
  • Successful operation of several biomass gasification tests identified hot gas cleanup as key to widespread adoption of the technology.

Last Revised: August 2004