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Lewis County, WA

A Poplar Bioindustry

AHB’s biorefinery siting models identifed southwest Washington (Fig. 1) as a good location for a poplar-based bioproducts industry. The greater Lewis County region has suitable land-use, crop prices, poplar growth conditions, and other factors in favor of poplar farming.

AHB researchers explored the feasibility of a hypothetical biorefinery in Centralia, WA supplied by poplar grown within 100 km (62 mi) of the site. A moderate-size biorefinery (250,000 dry tons of biomass/year) would need 34,500 acres of poplar farms (equivalent to about 25% of existing pasture land).

The region has additional characteristics that make a poplar bioindustry particularly suitable.

  • Existing poplar plantation for wastewater treatment in Chehalis (Fig. 2)
  • Potential to co-locate a biorefinery with the Centralia power plant
  • Familiarity with and cultural importance of agriculture and forestry
  • Need for economic development and job growth
  • Severe flooding issues and on-going mitigation planning in the Chehalis River Basin
  • Close proximity to major markets in Seattle and Portland
  • Strong infrastructure

For more information please contact Dr. Rick Gustafson: or 206-543-2790


Map of SW WA and Lewis County

Figure 1. Southwest Washington study region (orange circle), which is the area within 100km of Centralia (star) in Lewis County (red).

City of Chehalis Poplar Plantation Entrance
Figure 2. The Chehalis Wastewater Treatment Facility irrigates a poplar plantation when there are low flows in the Chehalis River.