The energy requirements associated with conventional mechanical size reduction of poplar and aspen wood are compared to a new method of size reduction employing a wood planer. Although the planer requires about 2.3 times less energy to achieve the same size reduction as conventional methods, large-scale equipment to implement this approach does not currently exist. Explosive depressurization was also compared to conventional mechanical size reduction. The conventional mechanical methods require roughly 70% more energy to achieve the same size reduction as explosive depressurization. Thus, explosive depressurization appears to be the preferred method and has the added benefit of altering the chemical structure of the wood to enhance the enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose fraction.