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Silver anniversary class of MSU Alumni Fellows named
In announcing its 2014 class of Alumni Fellows, the Mississippi State University (MSU) Alumni Association also is marking the 25th anniversary of the annual special recognition program.
World L.-S. Nieh of Oak Hill, Virginia, a 1990 doctoral graduate in forest products.
Established in 1989, the fellows program seeks to spotlight the 136-year-old land-grant institution’s most distinguished graduates by showcasing their talents and accomplishments to current students.
In addition to bringing one alumnus of MSU’s eight academic colleges back to campus to share professional experiences and provide career guidance, the annual fall semester event includes a series of meetings and presentations with students and faculty, both in the classroom and informally.
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Northeast's record-breaking wood pellet demand peaks heading into winter season
In the U.S., the northeast is demanding record amounts of wood pellet heating fuel from the biomass industry. “Last winter was especially cold and long, particularly in the northeast, and many pellet fuels consumers are planning ahead to be prepared for this season,” said Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director of PFI. “At this time it’s important for consumers to recognize that purchasing large amounts of pellets that exceed their likely demand for the heating season could result in a personal surplus at the end of the season.”
Muradel produces crude oil from algae at demonstration plant
Renewable fuels company Muradel has launched Australia’s first integrated demonstration plant to sustainably convert algae into green crude, as a first step towards a commercial plant with the potential to produce 80 million liters of crude oil a year.
The $10.7 million demonstration plant at Whyalla, which was officially opened Oct. 31, by Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock and Australian Renewable Energy CFO Ian Kay, will produce 30,000 liters of green crude a year using Muradel’s Green2Black technology for the continuous production of an environmentally sustainable fossil crude equivalent.
Invasive bug prompts quarantine in Pennsylvania townships
The spotted lanternfly has officially arrived in the U.S., and leaders in Pennsylvania are hoping it won't be staying long. The invasive pest poses a threat to fruit orchards and grape vines, along with forests and the timber industry. It was detected in Berks County, northwest of Philadelphia.
DTE Biomass dedicates landfill gas facility in North Carolina
DTE Biomass Energy via Biomass Magazine
DTE Biomass Energy recently celebrated the completion of its 9.6-mega watt landfill gas-to-energy project at the Uwharrie Environmental Landfill in Mt. Gilead, North Carolina.
DTE Biomass Energy last month started operating the facility at the landfill, which is owned and operated by Republic Services of North Carolina. Landfill gas at the site is used to generate renewable energy which is subsequently sold to Duke Energy Progress.
Forest Service, conservation groups reach agreement on management of the Sierras
Feather Publishing via Plumas County News
The U.S. Forest Service and environmental plaintiffs signed a settlement agreement Oct. 9, ending a decade-long legal battle over the 2004 Sierra Nevada Framework Forest Plan Amendment, which affects management of the Sierra Nevada national forests in California.
A coalition of conservation organizations led by Sierra Forest Legacy and including the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society filed suit in early 2005 claiming that the 2004 framework plan failed to adequately protect old-growth forests and associated wildlife species and was not consistent with national environmental laws.
History of US biofuel mandate provides opening for legal challenge
Probable legal challenges to proposed cuts in the 2014 U.S. biofuel mandate could focus on a two-word phrase dropped from the U.S. law establishing the renewable fuel program back in 2005: distribution capacity.
Biofuel producers have argued for months that the Environmental Protection Agency's justification for potential cuts to 2014 targets is incompatible with federal law and that the legislative history of the mandate will prove this.
Lab breakthrough can lead to cheaper biofuels, improved crops and new products from plants
Imagine being able to precisely control specific tissues of a plant to enhance desired traits without affecting the plant's overall function. Thus a rubber tree could be manipulated to produce more natural latex. Trees grown for wood could be made with higher lignin content, making for stronger yet lighter-weight lumber.
North Carolina State University announces biofuel breakthroughs
North Carolina State University via Ethanol Producer Magazine
Scientists are using biotechnology to chip away at barriers to producing biofuels from woody plants and grasses instead of the corn and sugarcane used to make ethanol.
North Carlina State’s Forest Biotechnology Group, which has been responsible for several research milestones published this year, summed up biofuel research progress and challenges for a special issue of the Plant Biotechnology Journal.
Renewable energy provides more than 40 percent of new generating capacity
Infrastructure Update report just released from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources including solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro account for 40.61 percent of all new electrical energy capacity put into service in the U.S. through the first nine months of 2014. Only natural gas provided more new capacity during the first three quarters of the year.
Perfect storm for a pellet and firewood shortage
As winter approaches, the groundwork is being laid for a perfect storm of unprecedented firewood shortages in the Northeast and Great Lake states. This may result in the impression that biomass is taxing our forests too heavily, when it’s almost entirely due to other factors.
Like last year’s pellet “shortage,” this year’s shortages are mostly a supply chain issue.
The granddaddy of all Canadian-US trade disputes is about to rear its ugly head again
A recent dispute over “country of origin labelling” for meat products underscores the fact that Canada and the U.S. still have their share of trade disputes. Yet, lurking in the background is a massive trade issue that you haven’t heard about for a while: softwood lumber, the granddaddy of all Canadian-U.S. trade disputes. Canada exported $7.4-billion worth of lumber in 2013, the highest amount since 2006.
The strange world of super-strong, super-light nanocellulose
Flexible electric circuits and solar panels? Advanced biofuels? New concretes and steel-like materials? New medical implants and sutures?
That’s just a sample of the potential applications for nanocellulose, and Borregaard is now investing in a 1000 ton project in Sarpsborg, Norway.
Why some trees evolved to live underground
With the exception of wildlife film makers, arboriculturalists and a few scientists, most of us don't spend much time in the leafy upper reaches of tree canopies. But in the underground forests beneath the savannahs of southern Africa and South America, it's an experience open to all.
Sweetening wood heat
During the first week of September, homeowners in New Hampshire paid about $25.20, $33.91 and $44.88 per million Btu for fuel oil, propane and electricity, respectively. Those using bulk-delivered wood pellets and cordwood paid about half that amount or less — $14.91 and $15.50. Though the low price of wood and pellets holds plenty of appeal to consumers, making the transition is oftentimes a different story, particularly when it comes to anteing up to purchase the appliance and pay for installation.
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