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Richard Vlosky receives high honor
Richard P. Vlosky, Ph.D., Director, Louisiana Forest Products Development Center, LSU AgCenter and Crosby Land & Resources Endowed Professor of Forest Sector Business Development, was recently appointed as an Outside Expert to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.(UNECE/FAO) Team of Specialists in Wood Bioenergy of the Committee on Forests and Forest Industry. Geneva, Switzerland.
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80 percent of construction firms in US plan to expand in 2015
Eighty percent of U.S. construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2015 while only 7 percent expect to reduce headcounts, according to survey results released recently by the Associated General Contractors of America.
In its report, “Ready to Hire Again: The 2015 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook,” the Arlington-based trade group found that many contractors are optimistic but still worry about regulatory burdens and their ability to find enough skilled workers.
Enhancing microbial pathways for biofuel production
Researchers from the DOE JGI and the Joint Bioenergy Institute identified genes in an E. coli microbial metabolism pathway that could improve the production of terpenes.
Terpenes are high-energy compounds produced in microbes and plants that could be used for producing biofuels. Enhancing terpene yields could lead to commercial-scale production of these biofuels.
Lumber price falls due to overcapacity
Lumber is used in a variety of industries in the U.S., but the price of lumber is primarily dictated by the health of the housing and construction industry. Americans may be viewing the economy more optimistically since last year, but their outlook on the housing industry is lagging somewhat.
Edeniq gets $16 million to convert biomass into cellulosic sugar
Edeniq Inc., a closely held biotechnology company, received $16 million to expand its production of cellulosic sugar from biomass.
The equity round was led by I2BF Global Ventures, which was joined by investors including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Angeleno Group, The Westly Group and Nimes Capital, Visalia, California-based Edeniq said in a statement recently.
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Materials screening 'improves' biofuel processing
Researchers in the U.S. have developed a computational screening process that identifies potential materials that could improve biofuel and petroleum processing.
Using a supercomputer at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago, the University of Minnesota-led team said its discovery could lead to “major efficiencies and cost savings” within the renewables and petroleum-based industries.
New genetically engineered tree to avoid federal oversight completely
eNews Park Forest
A genetically engineered (GE) tree may already be planted in field tests, and eventually be commercialized, in the U.S. without having gone through any regulatory oversight or environmental risk assessment. On Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quietly posted its August reply to a letter from ArborGen, a biotechnology company that is developing GE forest trees for plantations, confirming that USDA will require no regulation of ArborGen’s GE loblolly pine.
US construction statistics
According to data released by Dodge Data & Analytics, new U.S. construction starts in December fell by 16 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $568.2 billion. The decline follows the 13 percent increase reported for total construction starts in November, when activity reached its highest level in 2014.
US Forest Service announces payments to states
Harlan Daily Enterprise
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that more than $50 million will be paid to 41 states and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico to support local schools and roads under the Twenty-Five Percent Fund Act of 1908. The 1908 Act requiring 25-percent payments is permanent law and will guide 2014 distribution of payments, as the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act authority expired on Sept. 30, 2014.
More cranes mean more US construction in 2015
Rider Levett Bucknall via For Construction Pros
International property and construction consultants Rider Levett Bucknall's inaugural edition of the North American RLB Crane Index, which measures construction activity in major cities across North America and predicts the health of the U.S. construction industry, reported that the residential market — specifically condominium and apartment developments — continues to lead the U.S. construction recovery.
UC Berkeley scientists find warmer, drier climate altering California forests statewide
Sierra Sun Times
Historical California vegetation data that more than once dodged the dumpster have now proved their true value, documenting that a changing forest structure seen in the Sierra Nevada has actually happened statewide over the past 90 years. Severe water stress since the 1930s mirrors the decline of large trees seen throughout the state, from the Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges.
Scientists shed further new light on biomass breakdown
Scientists at the University of York are part of a research team which has found that a recently discovered family of enzymes can degrade resistant forms of starch.
Earlier research established that the enzymes — lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases — are able to degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars.
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