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Wood pellets are big business
It’s a good time to be in the American wood pellet business. Dozens of manufacturers, increasingly concentrated in the Southeast, are now approaching production of 10 million annual short tons of wood pellets — ostensibly made from the leftovers at lumber mills or from the branches, slash and other woody material found on the forest floor. Another 6 million short tons of capacity is now planned or under construction, according to industry data, making the U.S. the single largest wood pellet producer in the world.
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New technique uses most abundant gas on Earth to help create bioethanol
Zymomonas mobilis bacterium might be tricky to say, but this bioethanol-producing microbe could become a household name if Indiana University biologists have their way. The biologists claim to have found a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase bioethanol production in this microorganism by using the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere: nitrogen gas (N2). By replacing chemical fertilizers with N2, production costs could be slashed and cellulose ethanol derived from wood pulp made much more economically viable — so much so that the researchers believe it may compete with corn ethanol and gasoline on price.
Grass to gas
Anaerobic digesters are usually fed manure or food waste, yet other options are being tested and used in the biogas industry. On the expanding menu of feedstock possibilities are crops grown specifically for the purpose. Research conducted in Ontario, Canada, at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus explores the possibility of growing perennial energy crops and native grasses for biogas production.
A forest dilemma: What will grow in a changing climate?
Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota's iconic northern forests are undergoing a gradual shift as the climate warms. Aspen, birch, balsam fir and black spruce, for example, are projected largely to vanish from the state by the end of the century.
But some foresters are suggesting a more radical shift in approaching what to do about it.
US construction spending rose 0.4 percent in December
The Associated Press via ABC News
U.S. construction spending accelerated in December as building activity increased for new houses and government-backed highways.
The Commerce Department said that construction spending rose 0.4 percent in December. Total construction spending in 2014 increased 5.6 percent to $961 billion, with the gains slightly below the pace of 5.7 percent in 2013.
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New mandatory reporting requirements impact biofuel companies
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has recently reinstated certain reporting requirements for foreign direct investments in the U.S. that had been abolished in 2009. These requirements impact all foreign biofuels companies that make a qualifying foreign direct investment in a company in the U.S. and all U.S. biofuels companies that receive a qualifying foreign direct investment from a company or individual overseas.
Study finds Europe's biomass boom will increase US forest sizes
Europe’s demand for wood pellets to generate renewable bioenergy will lead to an increase in U.S. forestland as timber exports rise, according to U.S. Forest Service scientists.
A new study finds that policies in the E.U. and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used in the generation of biomass energy.
Year-end momentum boosts builder confidence
By Michael J. Berens
Indicators across the building industry report notable growth in the final quarter of 2014. Conditions began to improve midyear and gathered momentum going into the fall, with most sectors ending on a strong note in December. With signs that the overall economy and job market are continuing to improve, builders are feeling confident that 2015 will bring more growth and increased employment to the industry.
US Forest Service supports wood pellet bioenergy; no issue with emissions
The manufacture of wood pellet bioenergy might increase demand for renewable energy from U.S. forests and boost prices, even if questions about increasing CO2 emissions remain without clear answers.
According to a recent U.S. Forest Service study, current policies in the E.U. and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used to generate bioenergy.
EPA to allow Argentine biodiesel imports under RFS
The EPA has approved a policy change that will allow Argentinian biodiesel to qualify under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a move that the National Biodiesel Board said would compromise the policy's goal of providing "clean, homegrown" fuel.
The change approves a request from the Argentine biodiesel industry that will allow the country to use an alternate tracking method for feedstocks used to produce biofuel.
US a net exporter of wood flooring
U.S. imports of wood flooring have slowly recovered since the financial crisis and economic recession. However, even before the recession started imports had been declining. 2013 imports were lower than in the years prior to 2009.
Obama's climate plan could threaten US forests
President Obama’s signature environmental initiative, his Clean Power Plan, is designed to fight climate change and crack down on America’s carbon-emitting power plants. But behind the scenes, a dispute is raging over obscure language that could promote the rapid destruction of America’s carbon-storing forests.
Low oil price won't put brakes on biomass future
The recent fall in oil prices has everybody talking about the prospects for advanced biofuels. Will commercialization be delayed? Will research and development continue? Can the industry survive $60 per barrel crude?
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