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New fuel cell uses solar and biomass
FierceEnergy
Despite the benefits of low-temperature fuel cell technologies, biomass cannot directly be used as a fuel because of the lack of an effective catalyst system. However, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a low-temperature fuel cell that directly converts a wide variety of biomass sources — including starch, cellulose, lignin, and even switchgrass, powdered wood, algae and waste from poultry processing — to electricity with a catalyst activated by solar or thermal energy.
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New Farm Bill includes items helping Wisconsin's timber industry
WTAQ-FM
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says she's happy that the recently approved Farm Bill has new items to help the state's timber industry, while managing our national forests. Gannett Wisconsin Media said the logging industry has been hurt by low timber production in the Chequamegon-Nicolet forest. The U.S. Forest Service has only cut 755 million board feet of its allowable limit of 1.3 billion board feet over the past decade.
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A new generation of American chestnut trees may redefine America's forests
Scientific American
Before an exotic fungus nearly wiped them out in the late 1800s, abundant chestnut trees shaped the forest ecosystem, providing food and shelter for numerous other species. In coming decades, chestnut trees engineered to battle the fungus could restore these lost relationships.
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Minnesota town discussing $300 million biomass energy proposal
Prairie Busines Magazine
Backers of a proposed $300 million, 30-megawatt biomass energy plant that could provide 70 jobs and produce electricity for the city of Red Lake Falls, Minn., will present the proposal to the public soon. Present plans call for converting local municipal waste as well as agricultural waste products such as sugar beet pulp into electricity, as well as biodiesel or other environmentally products, such as animal feed, according to developer Arden “Bud” Comstock, a former Pennington County commissioner.
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Interfor Lumber produces record 470 million board feet
Woodworking Network
International Forest Products Limited reported net earnings of $11.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to net losses of $100,000 a year ago. Lumber production was a record 470 million board feet, up 5 percent from the third quarter of 2013. Lumber sales, including wholesale and agency volumes, were a record 500 million board feet, up 12 percent versus the prior quarter.
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Pine beetle kill slows in Wyoming forests
WyoFile
Results from the U.S. Forest Service’s recent aerial survey showing the slowing of the pine beetle epidemic in Wyoming isn’t necessarily good news. The slowdown is mostly attributable to the fact that many trees are already dead. “It’s not really a victory,” said Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser.
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Lumber Liquidators invests more than $60 million in Virginia expansion project
Area Development
Lumber Liquidators, a specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, will invest more than $60 million as part of its expansion project in Virginia. The company plans to create approximately 250 jobs during the next three years in the Commonwealth, through the augmentation of its corporate and manufacturing operations, led by the expansion of its flagship Bellawood hardwood flooring finishing. The company is also consolidating its East Coast distribution operations in Henrico County, Va.
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Stone veneer works like wood veneer
Woodworking Network
Applying a paper-thin stone surface onto a wood panel was once thought impossible, but Richter USA, Inc., has developed the methods used to create a real stone veneer that woodworkers, furniture makers and cabinet makers can process with its Stone-Veneer product line. According to Richter, the Stone-Veneer is made from sheets of real splitable Indian slate rock. Because of the different geographical locations of the quarries the company uses, it is able to offer different colorations of the slate used for the Stone-Veneer.
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2 additional biomass companies win Army MATOC contracts
Biomass Magazine
On Feb. 20, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering and Support Center, working with the Army Energy Initiative Task Force, announced two additional biomass energy companies were awarded contracts that will enable them to bid on $7 billion in future renewable energy task orders. The two companies, Ameresco Inc. and Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., received Multiple Award Task Order Contracts. The Army awarded similar contracts to 15 solar and three wind companies; the program is also open to geothermal energy.
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Federal wood burning rule prompts rural backlash
The Associated Press via The Wall Street Journal
A federal proposal to clean up the smoke wafting from wood-burning stoves has sparked a backlash from some rural residents, lawmakers and manufacturers in Jefferson City, Mo., who fear it could close the damper on one of the oldest ways of warming homes on cold winter days. Proposed regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would significantly reduce the amount of particle pollution allowed from the smokestacks of new residential wood-powered heaters.
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Lumber prices stay flat as wintry weather stifles pre-spring buying
Stockhouse
North American lumber and panel traders reported a strong sense of pent-up demand throughout the market, even as demand waned during the week of Feb. 24, and sales volumes were muted. Players at sawmills and secondary distributors across the continent rated the recent business as "five out of ten". Continued terrible weather in important solid wood consumer centres was blamed for the stall in pre-spring buying.
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A good year for West Coast lumber and log exports
NPR via Jefferson Public Radio
West Coast log and lumber exports rose sharply in 2013 as Asian demand for American logs increased, according to new research from the U.S. Forest Service. The region's lumber and log exports rose about 20 percent last year, with demand peaking in the fourth quarter.
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Study: Biomass could provide 44 percent of UK energy by 2050
Responding to Climate Change
By 2050, up to 44 percent of the U.K.'s energy could be produced from household and agricultural waste and home-grown fuels, says a study published Feb. 20, in the Energy Policy journal. Biomass currently provides 38 percent of the U.K.’s renewable energy, although this only contributes about 15 percent to the country’s overall energy production.
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