The Greening of the Nevada Prison System

The Greening of the Nevada Prison System project is a pilot program that intends to develop sources of woody biomass feedstocks for conversion into biofuels, biopower, and biobased products through a comprehensive program that advances the use of fast growing trees in enriched soil conditions along with better forest/woodlot management. The economics of this integrated system are enhanced by innovative production systems, low cost labor including prison inmates, and creative technologies such as remineralization.


Such a system, when fully implemented on a state-wide basis, would increase total bioenergy production from 0.5% to 7% by a factor of 7 by operating two 100 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plants and a total of 200 MW of biomass power by 2025.

The central focus of this project is a fast-growing tree research/demonstration program to showcase the viability for future large-scale sustainable biomass production systems. This demonstration project will test native trees under a variety of situations to best determine the optimum conditions for producing biomass in Nevada. The Director of Prisons in Nevada has committed to replicating this at other prisons throughout the state and working with other interested states to do the same.

The project brings together the resources of the Nevada Department of Corrections, Renew the Earth, RPM Ecosystems, Remineralize the Earth, and others to address the growing need for additional, affordable, and sustainable biomass. The pilot program is unique in that it increases biomass production while also building skills and morale of incarcerated Nevadan inmates working on research plots and forestry camps.

This project will be managed by Renew the Earth, working in close cooperation with the Nevada Department of Corrections. Key personnel include:

• Ms. Judith Siegel, Renew the Earth Board Member, serving as Project Manager and Senior Analyst • Mr. Bill Holmberg, President of Renew the Earth, serving as Bioenergy Expert • Mr. Tom Albrecht, Renew the Earth, serving as Prison System Expert • Dr. Janet Hawkes, PhD, Strategic Partner, RPM Ecosystems, serving as Technical Expert

For more information about Renew the Earth and their projects, click here

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