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Cellulose aerogel offers cheaper oil clean-up
A cellulose-based aerogel could offer a greener, more sustainable way to clean up oil spills, according to its developers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The aerogel, made by Shaoqin Gong and her team at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, is 98 percent porous and can absorb up to 100 times its own weight in oil without absorbing any water, and can also absorb heavy metal ions such as lead and mercury.
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Wood pellets in short supply
The supply of home-heating wood pellets has gone up in smoke, The Enterprise reported. Demand has outstripped supply and one reason is the shortage of raw material to make the wood pellets into fuel, said Glenn Walldroff, president of Associated Harvest Inc., in New York.
The pellets are used as fuel in specially made stoves that look like wood stoves, but burn pellets made of sawdust and wood shavings instead of wood.
Global forest watch data on Canadian and US forests
There have been over 150,000 visits to the Global Forest Watch website since it went online, and for good reason. The interactive map is an online forest monitoring system, created by the World Resources Institute and more than 40 partners, that allows you to examine changes in the forest cover anywhere in the world. They drew upon many databases, including Google Maps, data from the University of Maryland and satellite imagery.
How much heat energy is in firewood?
Michigan State University
Although deep snow and bitter cold winter temperatures may discourage many people from obtaining firewood this season, wood is an alternative heating fuel source worth consideration. Increased efficiencies of both indoor and outdoor wood burners coupled with rising fossil fuel prices are making wood a more attractive heating fuel source then it has been in many years.
In the veneer future: A new angle on the old craft of marquetry
The Financial Times
Marquetry is making a comeback. Ornate, detailed and visibly handcrafted, the art of creating designs and images by applying pieces of veneer to a solid wood surface has been around since the 16th century – and is now enjoying a revival.
In the past few years, designers have rediscovered the possibilities of the craft and British designers in particular are experimenting with new materials, aesthetics and approaches, giving the traditional approach an interesting, and at times irreverent, modern twist.
Sax-Zim welcome center sided with 'thermally modified' aspen
Saw boards out of aspen and stick them on the outside of a house in northern Minnesota and you probably wouldn’t have much in a few years.
The stuff would rot and fade and likely not make it through many of our extreme seasons — from cold and dry to hot and humid.
But if you “cook” those aspen boards at just the right temperature for just the right time, they can be has hardy as any cedar siding on the market, says Pat Donahue, director of the Market-Oriented Wood Technology Program at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
House tax proposal would alter biofuel, bioenergy tax credits
Ethanol Producer Magazine
On Feb. 26, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp, R-Mich., released draft legislation to reform federal tax code. The draft, titled the “Tax Reform Act of 2014,” would alter, and in some cases repeal, tax incentives for biofuels and bioenergy.
The answer to forest-destroying fires is more fire, researchers say
Arizona Daily Star
Southwest wildfires, which have grown exponentially in size over the past decade, need to be harnessed for the benefits they create on the landscape, fire researchers in Tucson, Ariz., said.
“We basically know that wildfire is going to treat more of our landscape than anything else,” said Andi Thode, an assistant professor of forestry at Northern Arizona University.
Environmentally friendly diluent?
Perry Toms says that in the past 25 years he has examined virtually every kind of bio-energy production method using biomass: gasification, waste energy, garbage-to-energy, pyrolysis, briquetting and torrefaction among them.
He even has a large investment in an Australia-based biochar company, so it’s not as if he doesn’t believe other methods have value, but when he got involved in hydrothermal upgrading five or six years ago, "A light went on," he says, snapping his fingers.
Shakopee biomass firm takes Minneapolis tree waste
Five years after a unique biomass energy facility opened in Shakopee, Minn., it has quietly developed a productive marriage with the city of Minneapolis, which is eager to find a way to rid itself of trees.
“Koda Energy has become tremendously important to us in absorbing vast quantities of plant material without our having to pay anyone to take it away,” said Ralph Sievert, Minneapolis’ city forester. Koda burns the plant material to generate energy.
Veneer resin system
Georgia-Pacific Chemicals introduced a patented resin system it says can provide flexibility in bonding high moisture content veneer with low moisture veneer. New Resi-Bond Ultra and Resi-Mix Ultra adhesives have demonstrated the ability to bond with pocket moisture ranges of 2 percent to 30 percent when veneer moisture sorts are strategically located in panel lay-ups, says the company.
Biomass industry needs to prepare for water constraints
The viability of the bioenergy crops industry could be strengthened by regulatory efforts to address non-point source pollution from agricultural sources. That, in turn, means that the industry should be strategic in developing metrics that measure the ability to enact positive changes in agricultural landscapes, particularly through second-generation perennial crops, according to a paper by a University of Illinois expert in bioenergy law.
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