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Hopes for algae biodiesel are fading
Big Picture Agriculture
For all of the hope surrounding algae biofuels, surrounding Craig Venter’s big algae project, and then, surrounding Sapphire – one of the last algae games left in town, people get news that Sapphire Energy’s CEO has been replaced. Some read this as a significant and negative sign. It would seem that people have been putting a lot of false hope into algae as a “sustainable” savior for liquid fuels.
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Forestry geneticists develop tree biomass crop to grow on marginal lands
Two Virginia Tech researchers have received a $1.4 million grant to investigate the genetic regulatory networks that will allow an important bioenergy crop to be bred so it will grow in less than ideal soils and climate.
Populus, a genus of fast-growing trees commonly known as cottonwoods and aspens, is being grown for bioenergy because it produces a significant amount of biomass in two years and will re-grow robustly when cut at just above ground level.
As fungus kills bats, Minnesota timber industry winces
A cave fungus that’s killing millions of bats across the country is threatening to become a big problem for Minnesota’s timber industry.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide next spring whether to add the northern long-eared bat, which is being wiped out in places by the disease called white nose syndrome, to the endangered species list. Such a decision would trigger a blanket prohibition against killing the bats, even accidentally.
'Big Green' lobby wants to cut 2 of 3 forestry branches
The Daily Signal
Pay your protection money. Do the secret handshake. And kiss the ring.
Otherwise, forget having green activists attach their environmental seal of approval to the wood products harvested from your forest.
That’s essentially the message organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace will be in a position to transmit if the U.S. timber industry submits to a monopoly in forest certification, free market economists argue.
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49 plants that could make biofuel less troublesome
ClimateWire via Scientific American
Scientists searching for the next big energy-producing biofuel, something such as switchgrass that power plants could burn to make electricity and reduce their carbon emissions, have a very fussy wish list.
Ideal species should not be food crops. They need to grow quickly and have to be successful on marginal land that's less suited to growing food crops. They should be resistant to disease and pests, and also produce enough biomass to make them competitive with fossil fuels.
Railroad ties: An essential biomass power fuel
Every year, millions of railroad ties in the U.S. are replaced. The wood that keeps trains on track is subject to a significant amount of wear and tear from constant train traffic and weather exposure. To keep the train system safe and reliable, these ties must be replaced every so often with new ones. So what happens to the used railroad ties?
Public urged to help keep foreign beetle from entering Pennsylvania
Agriculture Secretary George Greig recently encouraged Pennsylvanians to protect the commonwealth tree population by spotting, collecting and submitting suspected Asian longhorned beetles to experts.
“Many Pennsylvanians are aware of the threat that invasive species pose to our state’s timber, maple syrup and tourism industries, but awareness isn’t enough,” said Greig.
Start-up Whole Trees LLC creates strength in lumber
The stores, offices and other commercial buildings that use construction materials supplied by Amelia Baxter's company aren't log cabins.
But the company's support columns and beams, created from round timber, are close to what can be found growing in the forest. Madison, Wisconsin-based Whole Trees LLC harvests trees that are too small for stripping and sawing into lumber.
Bionic liquid key to closed loop biofuel refineries
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via Laboratory Equipment
While the powerful solvents known as ionic liquids show great promise for liberating fermentable sugars from lignocellulose and improving the economics of advanced biofuels, an even more promising candidate is on the horizon — bionic liquids.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have developed “bionic liquids” from lignin and hemicellulose, two by-products of biofuel production from bio-refineries.
Grand opening set for 1st large cellulosic plant
The Associated Press via KCRG-TV
A new era of ethanol fuel production will begin in the next few months as Iowa refineries begin full operation using materials other than corn kernels.
Iowa, the nation's top ethanol producer, has two major cellulosic plants under construction and nearly ready for production using corn plant leaves, stalks and cobs to make ethanol.
The first to go online, called Project Liberty, will hold a grand opening with public tours on Sept. 3. It is among the first facilities of its size in the U.S. to begin making ethanol from plant material.
Some trees face 'extinction' threat
North America is at a crossroads when it comes to the future of its forests. Several new and devastating tree diseases are moving across the continent and, thanks to globalization, are also starting to crop up elsewhere around the world.
Forestry experts in Colorado this month warned that Thousand Cankers Disease continues to spread in the state. The disease, which is transmitted by a beetle that carries a toxic fungus, seems to have originated in walnut trees in the southwestern U.S. and in northern Mexico.
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