From an article by Raghav Mehta on The Minnesota Daily:

As policymakers and environmentalists search for new sources of renewable energy, researchers at the University of Minnesota are working on turning leaves and branches into energy.

University researchers are currently exploring the viability of using forest-based biomass as an alternative energy source. Last month they received a $2.7 million federal grant to expand the footprint of their research to cover 50 million acres of forestland in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Forest resources professor Anthony D’Amato will lead the study in collaboration with scientists and researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin.

Researchers will gather branches, leaves and shrubs to analyze the economic and ecological costs and benefits of harvesting the woody biomass over the next four years.

D’Amato said forest-based biomass gives another option in the search for a more environmentally friendly source of energy.