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Army talks renewable energy progress
This month, the Army will be releasing a sustainability report that will serve as a transparent mechanism to inform the public on where it is in terms of reaching energy and sustainability goals — renewable energy and water and petroleum reduction, progress that "haven’t been reported on before."
Two large-scale projects underway — a solar array project at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, that will become the DOD’s largest to date and will steal that title from ReEnergy Black River’s biomass power plant at Ft. Drum, New York, which is contracted to supply the installation with 100 percent of its power needs, and there are several other projects in various stages of contracting.
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Grasslands support more species than cornfields
In Wisconsin, bioenergy is for the birds. Really. In a study published on Oct. 10, in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources scientists examined whether corn and perennial grassland fields in southern Wisconsin could provide both biomass for bioenergy production and bountiful bird habitat.
The new frontier in ethanol is nonfood biofuel
The first large ethanol plants to produce biofuel from nonfood sources like corn cobs are starting operations in the Midwest amid industry worries that they might also be the last — at least in the U.S.
After a decade of research and development, ethanol maker Poet Inc. and its Dutch partner Royal DSM recently produced the first cellulosic ethanol at a $275 million plant next to a cornfield in an Iowa town.
Is burning wood for energy worse for the climate than coal?
The Carbon Brief
An article in the Daily Mail on Oct. 7, says it is "lunacy" to run Drax power station on biomass instead of coal. Converting the plant to burn wood destroys forests and emits more carbon, it says. The paper calls this a "living, humming, forest-destroying symbol of the shameful absurdity of European energy policies."
Algae's promise rebounds after setbacks
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Algae are everywhere — in the oceans, freshwater lakes, soil and even air. And if businesses working with algae have their way, these versatile, plant-like creatures will become a key part of almost every consumer product.
Companies and biotech researchers discussed that vision, and how to get there, at the 2014 Algae Biomass Summit, held recently in San Diego.
Trees 'retrofit our cities for happiness,' forester says
The Salt Lake Tribune
Trees play a special, though somewhat contradictory role in the human psyche. Among the first thing Mormon pioneers did upon reaching the treeless Salt Lake Valley in 1847 was plant crops, but also the trees that became Utah’s first urban forest.
Timber industry's role uncertain, even with Western bark beetle epidemics
John Blazzard moseyed over to a pile of stacked spruce logs. They still smelled woody and green, with a hint of sharp citrus. They’d all once grown for a hundred years or more near the Bear River in the Uinta Mountains. The logs still had their blue marks, hand-painted by U.S. Forest Service staff indicating they were suitable for harvest.
Large sawmill inaugurated in US
Irving Forest Products recently marked the official opening of the new state-of-the-art Ashland Sawmill in Nashville Plantation, Maine. The $30 million sawmill started operating in June and today employs 60 people, producing over 100 million board feet of certified softwood lumber per year.
Is another housing bubble sneaking up on us?
Nick Timiraos recently pointed to an interesting IMF chart. It breaks the world into two sorts of countries. The first, which includes the U.S., U.K., Spain and others, saw a big housing bubble during the aughts and a big housing bust during the Great Recession. The second, which includes Canada, Germany and others, had only a modest runup in housing prices during the aughts and a correspondingly small decline during the Great Recession.
Sawdust cellulose offers alkane pipeline
A new way for converting cellulose into liquid straight-chain alkanes may provide a viable alternative route to chemicals traditionally sourced from crude oil. With the demand for fossil-derived chemicals and fuels ever-increasing, making chemical building blocks using cellulose from the vast amounts of cheap, waste non-food plant biomass produced worldwide in combination with existing oil refinery infrastructure, could be an invaluable bridge to sustainable chemicals and fuels.
Northeast Wood Products pellet capacity to near 350,000 tons
In a span of about eight months, Northeast Wood Products LLC will have gone from no presence in the industry to possessing nearly 350,000 tons of U.S. wood pellet production capacity.
In June, the company, the majority shareholder of which is the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, announced that it had acquired Pennington Seed Co.’s 65,000-metric-ton-per year pellet plant in Peebles, Ohio, related equipment and assets at the company’s Kenbridge, Virginia, facility and was in process of acquiring Pennington’s 65,000-metric-ton-per-year pellet plant in Ligonier, Indiana.
New approach to boosting biofuel production
MIT News Office via The Energy Collective
Yeast is commonly used to transform corn and other plant materials into biofuels such as ethanol. However, large concentrations of ethanol can be toxic to yeast, which has limited the production capacity of many yeast strains used in industry.
“Toxicity is probably the single most important problem in cost-effective biofuels production,” says Gregory Stephanopoulos, the Willard Henry Dow Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT.
Could the skyscrapers of the future be built from wood?
When skyscrapers first emerged, they used durable construction materials that were, nonetheless, lighter and stronger than bricks or plaster. It was this that allowed them to rise far higher than any buildings that had come before – and the shiny and futuristic appearance that resulted became inseparable from the concept of "skyscraper."
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