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New video highlights the importance of biofuels to the military
Our nation’s continued oil use is posing a dangerous threat to our nation’s armed forces and security, but engineers and national security experts are working together to make oil savings solutions a reality, according to a new video by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Truman National Security Project. The new video — featuring experts from both organizations — details the growing danger of oil use to our national security.
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Ailing pine trees prompt calls to Maine Forest Service
Bangor Daily News
State forestry officials have been receiving numerous calls about a disease affecting white pine trees, but they say there should be no rush to cut them down because the trees may yet survive.
Several pathogenic fungi infect the needles of the trees, causing them to turn yellowish brown and fall off, but the problem is not new to Maine or the Northeast. The white pine needle disease epidemic has been occurring in most areas of New England and also New York for at least eight straight years, according to forestry officials.
Cellulosic ethanol is coming
Hoosier Ag Today
The very first commercial-scale gallons of cellulosic ethanol were produced recently at the Quad County Corn Processors plant in Galva, Iowa. Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the plant is using a new bolt-on process that allows a plant to convert the kernel’s corn fiber into cellulosic ethanol in addition to traditional corn starch ethanol.
Leaf-cutter ant fungus gardens transform during biomass degradation
A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center is using metabolomic and metaproteomic techniques to examine the dynamics of nutrient turnover in the gardens of leaf-cutter ants. These herbivores, which are found in ecosystems throughout the Neotropics, feed on fungus gardens cultivated on fresh foliar biomass.The team found that numerous free amino acids and sugars are depleted throughout the process of biomass degradation, indicating that easily accessible nutrients from plant material are readily consumed by microbes in these ecosystems.
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Adjust sustainable forest
North Carolina Sportsman
Out of the 750 million forested acres in the U.S., North Carolina and South Carolina have a little more than 31 million acres covered in wooded habitats. But forests are more than just a place for Bambi, Peter Rabbit and Tom Turkey to live and places for a fleet of hunters trying to fill their tags; they support a massive forest-products industry.
US EPA approves new fuels for federal biofuel mandate
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently expanded the types of fuel that can be used to satisfy the federal biofuel mandate, a move that could play a role in the agency's delayed targets for 2014 renewable fuel use.
The EPA finalized a plan allowing compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas produced using biogas from landfills, manure digesters and sewage treatment plants to qualify as cellulosic biofuel, fuel typically derived from sources like grasses and wood.
Growing greener fuel for cleaner transport
Plants might be the source of a new renewable fuel for planes, or new greener ingredients to replace fossil resources used to produce plastics.
At an experimental agriculture plot near Athens in Greece, agricultural engineers are growing plants which could produce these new greener fuels.
Younger generations not interested in timber
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Scott Sawle was raised in the sawmill business.
He remembers working on his family's mill in southwestern Wisconsin when he was 10. That was in 1958, when child labor laws were more lax than they are today.
Now 66, Sawle is a second-generation sawmill owner, and he is convinced his Richland Center mill won't support a third.
Biomass trials show promise for future energy source
The Daily Press
The farm fields that had once served the Ashland Agricultural Resource Station west of Ashland, New York, are now occupied with a variety of different crops. Hay grows tall in some of the fields while hop plants snake their way around guide strings, winding ever upward into the blue sky.
Meanwhile, a copse of young trees — hybrid willows and poplars — forms a substantial grove of some 15 acres.
New York City's own wood whisperer Paul Kruger turns knocked down trees into chic decor
New York Daily News
Call him the wood whisperer.
Custom furniture designer Paul Kruger spends his days in Riverside Park, New York, tracking down timber that has washed up from the Hudson River or fallen from trees. When he finds what he’s looking for, he hauls it home in a shopping cart.
“People look at me like I have three heads,” says Kruger.
Digital fabrication is changing architecture: Exhibition Hall is built out of computer-cut plywood
The people behind the Landesgartenschau Exhibition Hall claim that it is "the first to have its primary structure entirely made of robotically prefabricated beech plywood plates." It's probably not, but this is a whole new level of sophistication in digital fabrication, of buildings as computer printout.
EPA approves 1st bug that eats CO2, spits out ethanol
The brave new world of next generation biofuel has pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into some strange new places. The agency has just given the thumbs-up to a genetically modified bacterium from the company Joule, which brings us one giant step closer to next generation biofuels made from sunlight and carbon dioxide.
Forest health crisis ends with a whimper
The Colorado Independent
Showing their natural resilience, Colorado forests are bouncing back from the pine beetle outbreak that peaked between 2007 and 2009, when the bugs spread across a mind-boggling 1 million acres of forest each year. But by last year, bug numbers dropped back to natural levels — just enough to take out a stand of sick, old trees now and then. Contrary to the spin out of D.C., it’s nature’s way.
New technology to demonstrate cost-effective biogas use
A $1.6 million Public Interest Energy Research grant, recently approved by the California Energy Commission, helps a biogas project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory come one step closer in commercializing a combustion system that can switch between biogas, propane and natural gas in real time. The system uses a combination of an energy-efficient low-swirl burner technology from LBNL with fuel-sensor technology from the University of California at Irvine.
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