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Process turns cellulose into energy storage devices
Based on a fundamental chemical discovery by scientists at Oregon State Univ., it appears that trees may soon play a major role in making high-tech energy storage devices.
OSU chemists have found that cellulose – the most abundant organic polymer on Earth and a key component of trees – can be heated in a furnace in the presence of ammonia, and turned into the building blocks for supercapacitors.
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Scripps, UCSD algae biofuel programs rated top in US by DOE
Fossil fuel use, even with the environmental and economic security challenges it poses, remains the dominant source of energy in the U.S. But its 80 percent share of the energy supply could be diminished in as little as five years. Scripps Institution of Oceanography and UC San Diego are taking the lead in developing an energy source that has the potential to be both cheaper and cleaner than fossil fuels: algae biofuels.
National forest fees to increase at some North Carolina sites
It will get more expensive to have fun in the forest this spring, causing at least some people to rethink their recreation plans.
The U.S. Forest Service is increasing fees at seven recreation sites in its four national forests in the state — the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan — for the upcoming tourism season. This includes a 100 percent fee increase at the popular Sliding Rock near Brevard in Pisgah National Forest.
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US joins race for tall timber buildings
The U.S. government is to launch a competition for the design of high-rise timber buildings as part of a $1 million initiative to encourage the use of wood as a structural material.
The move complements a project to highlight engineered timber’s multi-story potential launched by the Softwood Lumber Board industry promotional campaign.
Study looks at wood pellets as potential source of jobs, energy savings
Winona Daily News
The Coulee Region could save millions of dollars a year in energy costs, create more than a hundred jobs and slash carbon dioxide emissions by creating a market for wood pellet fuel, according to a new study.
Commissioned by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, the study grew out of meetings in the Kickapoo River Valley after the floods of 2007 and 2008, where discussions focused on how to create a more resilient economy, said Greg Flogstad, director of the planning commission.
Air pollutants from biomass burning exceeds coal
Facilities burning biomass emit more air pollutants, including carbon dioxide, per megawatt-hour than those that burn coal, according to a Partnership for Policy Integrity report.
The April 2, report, “Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the New Coal,” examined 88 Clean Air Act permits issued to industrial sources that burn biomass. It found that sources burning biomass emit 50 percent more carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity generated than coal-burning sources.
US court questions EPA delays to biofuel mandate
Federal judges pressed the Obama administration to explain delays that have plagued its implementation of the U.S. biofuel mandate, as the government attempted to fend off an oil industry challenge to renewable fuel use targets.
In a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington D.C., the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers argued the 2013 biofuel use targets should be thrown out because the administration acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" when it issued the targets nearly nine months after its legislative deadline.
Wood beams stronger than old-growth trees offer great construction versatility
Engineered lumber is made from wood chips and strands of wood that are bonded into floor joists, beams, studs, trusses and other parts. As the size and quality of saw logs declines, engineered lumber means straighter, more predictable lumber, but there are other advantages, too. Engineered building materials span farther, they support wider structures and they take pipes and wires more easily than sawn lumber. In this article are three applications in which engineered lumber makes especially good sense.
Top North American lumber producers in 2013: Large companies continue to expand
The latest Wood Markets (WM) annual survey of the Top 20 North American softwood lumber producers shows the gains that the U.S. and Canada had in 2013. As the lumber demand continued to increase in U.S. key export markets, softwood lumber shipments surged an overall 5.1 percent up to 30.0 billion board feet. Corporate acquisitions were again a big part of the story as the Canadian buying frenzy continued in the Southern U.S. – more than 25 mills have been purchased by Canadian firms in the South that all started in the mid-2000s, says the WM report.
China: Plywood exports to US fall sharply
Chinese plywood exports totaled 10.26 million cubic meters, valued at $5,034 million in 2013, up 2 percent in volume and 5 percent in value from 2012. The average unit price for exported plywood in 2013 was $490 per cubic meter, a year on year increase of 3 percent.
Ameresco biomass plant uses damaged wood from ice storm
Ameresco, Inc., a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, announced that its biomass cogeneration facility located at the U.S. Department of Energy Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C., operational since January 2012, is utilizing storm-damaged timber as a result of the major ice storm which impacted the U.S. southern region during Feb. 11-13. “Utilizing the storm debris not only benefits the region and community’s critical clean-up initiatives but affords a positive environmental solution to keep the woody debris out of landfills and power the plant with renewable fuel,” said Dr. Moody, DOE-SR Manager responsible for overseeing the Site’s environmental management program.
Oregon's O&C forest lands: 'The rest of the story'
In 2012, U. S. Forest Service researchers supporting the NCA concluded: "By the end of the 21st century, forest ecosystems in the U.S. will differ from those of today as a result of changing climate...wildfires, insect infestations, pulses of erosion and flooding and drought-induced tree mortality are all expected to increase during the 21st century."
Around 48 percent of the 2.2 million acres of O&C forests are unhealthy and fire-prone, conditions that will only worsen with prolonged climate warming.
Has energy independence lost its luster for biofuels?
Only a couple years ago, a strong argument for the adoption and deployment of domestically produced biofuels in the U.S. was its support of our nation's energy independence. Today, that argument seems to possess less validity as energy imports continue to decrease, reaching their lowest level in two decades. Energy imports peaked in 2007 at 37.2 quadrillion Btu and made up 37 percent of the nation’s total energy portfolio.
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