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US Forest Products Lab steadily moves industry forward
For over 100 years, USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, has been conducting research. Today it is a rich knowledge center with experts from biomass to baseball bats – anything made from wood. Much of its work has advanced the pulp, paper and forest products industry’s manufacturing efficiency, environmental and forest stewardship, product quality and in turn, supports U.S. national priorities. Since much of FPL’s research is funded by the U.S. government, research findings are readily available to the public.
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Research uses camelina to build better biofuel
A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.
Timothy Durrett, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, is part of collaborative team that has received a four-year $1.5 million joint U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy grant.
Stanford study says wildfires and 'biomass burning' are bigger climate change threats than previously thought
International Business Times
Nearly one-fifth of the carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans can be traced back to wildfires, slash-and-burn agriculture and the burning of wood waste to produce power, a Stanford University report found. While “biomass burning” has long been considered a culprit of climate change, the new research is the first to comprehensively quantify that threat — and the number suggests the risks may be higher than previously thought.
Not-real-wood company Trex posts a very real earnings bump
The Washington Post
The wood may be fake, but the recent financial success is very real.
In the past three months, Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, recorded sales of $121.3 million, a 23 percent increase over the $98.6 million in revenue posted during the same period last year and a 10 percent bump over the first quarter.
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Obama delay on biofuel rule puts intended beneficiaries in bind
Bloomberg via AGWeb
In the arid Imperial Valley of California, Tim Brummels is trying to turn an agricultural cousin of sugarcane into low-carbon ethanol.
It’s the kind of climate-friendly project supporters have pined for since Congress in 2005 ordered refiners to use more renewable fuel. Even so, Brummels’ company — Canergy LLC — is being stymied by an unlikely culprit: the Obama administration.
An all-green California by mid-century
Central Valley Business Times
The sun, heat from the earth, wind and even ocean waves could help wean California off fossil fuels entirely by 2050, says new research led by Mark Jacobson, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering.
“If implemented, this plan will eliminate air pollution mortality and global warming emissions from California, stabilize prices and create jobs — there is little downside,” says Mr. Jacobson, who is also the director of Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy Program and a senior fellow with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy.
US to cover half share of total European wood pellets imports
The E.U. recently published its annual biofuels report for 2014 with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network. The report identifies three regional markets in the E.U., with three trade flows that can be determined. Since 2008, the E.U. demand for pellets has significantly outpaced domestic production. This has resulted in increased imports from the U.S.
Replant after wildfire or let nature take over?
The Associated Press via El PAso Inc.
Nearly a year since a historic wildfire charred a huge swath of California's High Sierra, debate rages over what to do with millions of dead trees left in its wake: truck them to lumber mills or let nature to take its course?
One side argues that the blackened dead trees and new growth beneath them already sprouting to life create vital habitat for dwindling birds such as spotted owls and black-backed woodpeckers. Others say time is running out on a golden opportunity to salvage timber to pay for replanting and restoring the forest.
Save up to $4 million per year on biomass costs — Genera Energy has an app for that
In Tennessee, Genera Energy has come up with a biomass management methodology that results in a 13 percent reduction in the delivered cost of biomass feedstock — or as much as $4 million per year for large-scale cellulosic biofuels systems.
The nearly $10 per dry ton savings come via a combination of reducing transportation costs, reducing dry matter losses in storage and scheduling inventory rotation to take best advantage of nonlinear deterioration rates of the biological material over time.
US timberland prices gain, despite lumber slowdown
Timberland in the U.S. accelerated its price growth, despite some lumber market concerns centered on China and the domestic market, which prompted one of the top forestry groups to warn on profits.
U.S. timberland prices were 7.2 percent higher in the April-to-June quarter than a year before, nudging 0.2 points higher than the rate of annual appreciation recorded for the January-to-March period, the National Council for Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries said.
Forest Service looks at treating trees for insects, disease
Elko Daily Free Press
Insects and disease that damage and dry out trees are cause for concern in the forest around Jarbidge, Nevada.
But the U.S. Forest Service is working toward a solution with the help of a provision in the Farm Bill, which aims to identify forest areas in need of healthy restoration.
Woodworkers share tips on growing their business at IWF 2014
With a changing economy, custom woodworkers are taking fresh and innovative approaches to stay ahead in business.
Two woodworking business managers — Adam Rogers of Thomas Moser Contract Furniture, and Jared Patchin of J. Alexander Fine Woodworking — shared their experiences of the changing market during a webcast on July 30, on how woodworking inventors grow their business.
Wind, solar, geothermal and biomass will top hydropower in 2014
The Energy Collective
Wind, solar, geothermal and biomass are surpassing hydropower as the dominant form of renewable electricity. And according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the crossover is expected to last the rest of 2014 and beyond.
April was the eighth consecutive month that nonhydro renewable generation exceeded hydropower, according to EIA.
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