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Cost-effective method to convert wood to nanocellulose
Researchers from Sappi and Edinburgh Napier University have come up with an economical technique to convert wood into nanocellulose, which could be used for designing eco-friendly cars, for food thickening and for treating wounds. This implies that Sappi will produce this wonder material, nanocellulose in a commercially viable manner, thus avoiding huge quantities of chemical waste water related with presently available techniques.
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Energy-saving, high-tech plastics applications in green building
By Don Rosato
In the U.S., the demand for green building materials — products that contribute to LEED credits — is expanding 13 percent annually and is currently generating sales of more than $70 billion per year. Let's start by taking a look at nanotech optical window films. Nanotechnology is being applied to multilayer optical films — made of polyester, acrylic and polyethylene naphthalate — to develop a new generation of light management.
Biofuels economic outlook
Back again by popular demand this year at the American Seed Trade Association CSS 2014 and Seed Expo was AgResource Company president Dan Basse giving his economic outlook for the year ahead.
Basse told attendees that the biofuels market is mature now, which means more stagnant demand for corn.
102 MW of biomass capacity added in October
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects recently published its Energy Infrastructure Update for October, reporting seven biomass units with a combined 102 megawatt (MW) capacity was were placed into service during the month.
Within its report, the FERC highlighted the East Texas Electric Coop. Inc.’s 50 MW Woodville Biomass project in Tyler County, Texas.
Gas might be greener
The Associated Press via The Chronicle Herald
People who own all-electric cars where coal generates the power may think they’re helping the environment. But a new study finds their vehicles make the air dirtier, worsening global warming.
Ethanol isn’t so green, either.
“It’s kind of hard to beat gasoline” for public and environmental health, said study co-author Julian Marshall, an engineering professor at the University of Minnesota. “A lot of the technologies that we think of as being clean ... are not better than gasoline.”
US construction spending to rise 7 percent
Fitch Ratings has just released its annual outlook report for the U.S. building materials industry and projects strong growth in overall construction spending during 2015. The private sector should be particularly strong and help boost construction spending by 7 percent. “Public construction spending remains constrained and is expected to increase only slightly next year,” Fitch researchers say.
Algae: Growing fuel with cells in the sea
Algae could be the future of renewable energy. For those of you who are unsure, algae are oxygen photosynthetic organisms that form plant-like structures in freshwater or marine ecosystems. But could it be possible for a plant to fuel up your car and get you back home for the Christmas holidays?
The answer is yes: turn them into biofuels, a type of renewable energy made by or from a living organism.
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Millennials settling down, baby boomers staying put
By Michael J. Berens
Two factors drive the housing market: the economy and demographics. At the moment, both are trending in favor of realtors and builders. Industry experts are forecasting a stronger housing market for 2015, with millennials and boomers being major players. The National Association of Realtors predicts a 3 percent growth in GDP for next year and a 3 percent increase in household income. Together these economic improvements would help unleash the pent-up demand for home purchases.
Your manias become science
Executive Editor Tim Portz reacts to the way in which science, and scientific study are handled and mishandled by both mainstream and trade media. The recent Star Tribune, the headline “If your all-electric car gets its power from coal, new study says it is dirtier than gasoline” got his attention.
US home construction drops 1.6 percent in November
The Associated Press via Seattlepi.com
Construction of new homes fell slightly in November, reflecting weakness in construction of single-family homes.
Builders started construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.03 million homes and apartments last month, the Commerce Department reported. That was a decline of 1.6 percent from October when construction activity had posted a 1.7 percent gain.
Softwood lumber prices fall in US, rise in China
While softwood lumber prices have declined this fall from their peak level this past summer — soft yellow pine garnered the largest price decrease — indexes still show the market at its highest point in 10 years, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.
Strong demand for softwood lumber has increased the price of exports to Northern Europe and China.
US Forest Service takes no stance on fracturing in national forest
Oil & Gas Journal
The U.S. Forest Service has dropped a proposal that would have banned hydraulic fracturing in the George Washington National Forest. The ban was outlined in a preliminary land management plan released in 2011 for the 1.1-million-acre forest in Virginia and West Virginia.
Virginia Petroleum Council Executive Director Michael Ward lauded the forest service on its final management plan for the forest.
Dropping oil prices to aid US housing market sales in 2015
World Property Journal
As tumbling oil prices drain over a trillion dollars of income from oil-rich exporters in the Middle East, the result could be one of the biggest transfers of wealth in history, and the U.S. housing market is now poised to benefit from this in 2015.
Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac's chief economist says, "The recent drop in oil prices has been an unexpected boon for consumers' pocketbooks and most businesses."
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