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EPA proposal classifies wood fuel from construction, demolition
On March 27, the U.S. EPA released a proposed rule to amend its Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials regulation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The NHSM rule was finalized in February 2013, and establishes standards and procedures for identifying whether non-hazardous secondary materials are solid wastes when used as fuels or ingredients in combustion units.
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Discovery could yield more efficient plants for biofuels
Genetically modifying a key protein complex in plants could lead to improved crops for the production of cellulosic biofuels, a Purdue University study found.
Clint Chapple, distinguished professor of biochemistry, and fellow researchers generated a mutant Arabidopsis plant whose cell walls can be converted easily into fermentable sugars, but does not display the stunted growth patterns of similar mutants.
As log export market booms, Astoria partnership dissolves into acrimony
Relations between an Astoria log exporter and its giant Chinese customer have suddenly turned nastier than the Columbia River bar in a winter storm.
And that has set up one of the most lopsided corporate legal battles in recent memory — Westerlund Log Handlers, a deeply indebted Clatsop County timber operator, against China National Building Materials Import & Export Co., part of a $30-billion-a-year enterprise partially owned by the People's Republic of China. The dispute threatens dozens of jobs in this working-class town and casts a pall over what has been an all-too rare economic success story for rural Oregon.
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Professor transforms woodchips into food and possibly fuel
Though humans can’t digest wood chips, one Virginia Tech professor is determined to use them to make something humans can eat.
Y.H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering, has developed a way to transform cellulose — an indigestible compound found in essentially all plant matter — into an edible starch.
"Our goal is to try to use renewable resources like the wood chip and plant waste to produce food and energy," Zhang said.
Biofuel revolution ahead?
Purdue University researchers are launching a company focusing on an innovative process that could revolutionize how lignocellulosic biomass is used to make biofuels and other bio-based products and chemicals.
Spero Energy Inc., which is based in the Purdue Research Park, in West Lafayette, Ind., will be led by Mahdi Abu-Omar, the R.B. Wetherill Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and associate director of Purdue’s Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, C3Bio.
Why northwest mills want China to buy lumber instead of logs
Jefferson Public Radio
Mark Elston followed his father into the timber industry back when business was booming.
“When I started, you could really mess things up and still make good money,” he said. “You can’t do that anymore.”
Elston runs a lumber mill in Tillamook, Ore., for Hampton Affiliates. The company has spent millions on energy efficiency and technology upgrades that allow his mill to make the most out of every log.
But despite those investments, the mill was on the ropes after the U.S. housing market collapsed in 2008.
USDA readies for another season of hunting Asian longhorned beetles
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is gearing up for another season of beetle hunting in the area.
As the sixth anniversary of the Asian longhorned beetle's detection in the area approaches, crews will continue to be out trying to spot the tree-killing invasive species, believed to have come to the U.S. from China on shipping crates.
Bio-resin chairs upcycle discarded wood shavings
Designers Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw set out to put wood shavings to good use, after learning that 50 to 80 percent of raw timber is wasted in the milling process that makes most wooden furniture.
The pair began experimenting with a mix of shavings and bio-resin, which foams to produce a lightweight yet strong material. They then used conventionally milled legs to create a chair that combines both a milled object and the waste created by the milling process.
Cellulose nanofiber paper filter removes virus particles with high efficiency
Researchers at the Division of Nanotechnology and Functional Materials, Uppsala University have developed a paper filter, which can remove virus particles with the efficiency matching that of the best industrial virus filters. The paper filter consists of 100 percent high purity cellulose nanofibers, directly derived from nature.
Weaker Canadian dollar a windfall for forestry sector
The Wall Street Journal
The Canadian dollar’s recent drop is creating some winners and some losers. Canada’s forestry sector will be one of the biggest winners, according to bond-rating firm Moody’s Investors Service.
The 7.9 percent decline in the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar in the past year is a windfall for forest-products companies because most of their products are priced in U.S. dollars, Moody’s said.
Prescribed burns planned for national park forest lands
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is planning a series of prescribed burns in the coming weeks. The areas to be burned involve about 570 acres of grasses, shrubs and woodlands in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Superintendent John J. Donahue said.
Prescribed fire is an approved tool for natural resource management throughout the National Park System and is part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area's fire management program.
New Harris Poll finds public perception of biomass held steady
A recently released Harris Poll addresses public perception of a variety of energy technologies, including biomass energy. The results show that many U.S. adults are unfamiliar with biomass energy and its benefits.
Within its results, the company called biomass the “biggest question mark” on the survey, as 61 percent of adults surveyed said they were not at all sure of its risks or benefits.
US construction spending barely up as homebuilding tumbles
U.S. construction spending barely rose in February as outlays on private residential construction projects recorded their biggest decline in seven months, a sign that severe weather continues to hobble the economy.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $945.7 billion, the Commerce Department said on April 1.
Construction spending in January was revised to show a 0.2 percent drop instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent gain.
Using more wood for construction can slash global carbon emissions
A Yale University-led study has found that using more wood and less steel and concrete in building and bridge construction would substantially reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel consumption.
Despite an established forest conservation theory holding that tree harvesting should be strictly minimized to prevent the loss of biodiversity and to maintain carbon storage capacity, the new study shows that sustainable management of wood resources can achieve both goals while also reducing fossil fuel burning. The results were published March 28, in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry.
Timberland Investment Resources certify over 600,000 Aares to SFI Standard
PRNewswire via Digital Journal
Over 600,000 acres of timberland managed by Timberland Investment Resources (TIR), LLC have been certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standard. TIR's investment footprint spans 14 states, with a significant presence in the southeastern U.S. These certified lands, in addition to the over 500,000 acres recently announced by the St. Joe Company, put the SFI Forest Partners Program well on the road to achieving its 2014 milestone of certifying 5 million acres of forestland to the SFI standard.
Energy-saving homes an important buying factor
As environmental awareness grows, prospective homeowners are looking for houses that are energy efficient and sustainable. Atlanta builders are up to the challenge, as they continue to design and construct more green-friendly homes.
“Homebuyers are increasingly interested in well-built and sustainable homes,” said Beth Fore, Vice President of Operations and Consulting at Cablik Enterprises. “Buyers are becoming aware of the way that a home’s structure affects their utility bills, and they’re looking for proper insulation techniques and products.”
How we can manufacture forests like Toyota makes cars
For a young industrial engineer, Shubhendu Sharma couldn’t have landed a gig much sweeter than Toyota. As the originator of “just-in-time production,” Toyota pioneered the lean manufacturing movement that helped make it a dominant global automaker. But when a venerable Japanese forestry expert visited the company’s Bangalore factory to plant some greenery, Sharma was captivated by the idea of engineering a new kind of efficiency.
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