Washington DC [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced grant recipients for announced $4.4 million in grants to 20 small enterprises in 12 states to develop innovative uses for woody biomass in national forests as sources of renewable energy and new products.The 2003 Healthy Forests Restoration Act calls for a grant program to help communities, entrepreneurs, businesses, local governments and others take residues from hazardous fuel reduction projects and turn them into marketable wood products, liquid fuels or energy. Woody biomass includes tree parts and woody plants–limbs, tops, needles and other woody parts–that are byproducts of ecological restoration and hazardous fuel reduction treatment activities. The byproducts that are removed can be used for generating energy, such as steam and electric, and a variety of other uses. However, one of the largest obstacles for using woody biomass is that it does not often generate sufficient income to overcome the costs of acquiring and processing the raw material. USDA’s Forest Service reviewed more than 145 proposed projects. Selections were based on a number of factors, including those that will make it profitable to salvage woody biomass by turning them into marketable products while reducing the cost of recovery. Grants were also awarded for projects that will help to remove economic and market barriers in using small-diameter trees and woody biomass. Consideration was also given to projects that will help to revitalize rural communities whose forest-based economies have suffered in recent years. Below are the 20 grant recipients. The maximum grant is $250,000. All recipients must match the federal portion by at least 20 percent. Together with the non-federal matches, more than $20 million will be spent on this effort.