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DOE, USDA announce biofuel projects
The U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture will invest $12.6 million in research grants to fund 10 projects focusing on genetic breeding programs to improve plant feedstocks for the production of biofuels, biopower and bio-based products. The investment is part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to accelerate development of new clean energy technologies designed to decrease dependence on foreign oil.
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New calculator shows carbon impacts of biomass
Energy Live News
A new scientific calculator which calculates the carbon impacts of burning trees for energy has been launched.
Developed by DECC, the "Bioenergy Emissions and Counterfactual Model" is designed to help developers make sure they are sourcing their biomass responsibly.
An accompanying study by Chief Scientific Advisor Professor David MacKay and Dr. Anna L. Stephenson focused on biomass sourced from North America and assessed the carbon impact of different biomass fuel types, taking into account alternative land use and impacts of transporting the fuel.
Ethanol needs separate treatment in US rail rules
The U.S. ethanol industry pushed back against what they called a "one size fits all" approach to proposed federal rules for shipping fuel by rail recently, saying regulators must distinguish between the often corn-based biofuel and crude oil.
Their calls follow an unveiling by the U.S. Department of Transportation of proposed safety features for new tank cars transporting fuel, and the phasing out of older cars considered unsafe.
E-Pellets buys former LP Mill for wood pellet production
E-Pellets LLC announced plans to convert a formerly shuttered Louisiana-Pacific composite panel mill in Athens, Georgia, to produce wood pellets for export to Europe.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, E-Pellets purchased the mill, which closed in 2008, for $13 million. Company spokesman Ben Easterlin told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that E-Pellets plans to invest $110 million to upgrade and convert the OSB plant for pellet production.
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Timber harvest on Idaho state lands hits record
The Associated Press via KTVB-TV
A massive timber salvage sale and logging companies opting to cash in on high prices resulted in a record 347 million board feet of timber harvested from state endowment lands last fiscal year.
Idaho Department of Lands Director Tom Schultz says a timber salvage of about 40 million board feet from last year's Elk Fire Complex that scorched 175 square miles is one of the largest in recent memory.
Why has the combustion-based engine technology not evolved?
Engine combustion technology has evolved considerably each and every decade. The evolution just hasn’t been obvious.
Over the last 50 years, auto engineers have figured out a lot, and these advances involved years and years of incremental effort. However, with only a few exceptions, most of these changes are hard to spot.
Trees save 870 lives every year by reducing respiratory, pulmonary problems
Wall Street OTC
"Save the environment, stop deforestation, don’t cut down forests" — people have heard about these social causes time and again. Yet cutting down trees and unabated clearing of forest regions for urbanization is occurring rampantly worldwide. But a new study has underlined the advantages of trees and plants for the living-beings on earth.
According to the scientists, trees and plants are responsible for saving about 870 lives every year. Moreover, they prevent 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms and cut down on the cases of related diseases.
Turning bio-waste into hydrogen
While hydrogen cars look set to be the next big thing in an increasingly carbon footprint-aware society, sustainable methods to produce hydrogen are still in their early stages. The HYTIME project is working on a novel production process that will see green hydrogen being produced from grass, straw and food industry residues.
Trees get the ax in war against Asian beetle
The Wall Street Journal
In a quiet neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, lined with small homes, residents are grumbling about plans by authorities to cut down about 500 city trees in an ongoing war against an exotic pest.
"There's going to be no privacy, which is a real bummer," said Anthony Maloney, a 33-year-old salesman who lives in a Cape Cod-style house facing a thick hedge of city-park trees that are to be removed. "That's why I bought this house."
Sweet discovery: Sugar transporters key to 'fuel crops'
A powerful new tool that can help advance the genetic engineering of “fuel” crops for clean, green and renewable bioenergy, has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a multi-institutional partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The JBEI researchers have developed an assay that enables scientists to identify and characterize the function of nucleotide sugar transporters, critical components in the biosynthesis of plant cell walls.
Concerns over carbon emissions from burning wood
Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report. The report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests.
Kudzu that ate South heading north as climate changes
Bloomberg News via Chicago Tribune
As the climate warms, the vine that ate the South is starting to gnaw at parts of the North, too.
Kudzu, a three-leafed weed first planted in the U.S. more than 100 years ago for the beauty of its purple blossoms, has been spotted in every county in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina. It chokes young trees, brings down power lines and infests abandoned homes. Now the plant, which can grow as fast as a foot per day, is creeping northward, wrapping itself around smokestacks in Ohio, overwhelming Illinois backyards and even jumping Lake Erie to establish a beachhead in Ontario, Canada.
36 energy facilities selected to handle biomass crop assistance program deliveries
The USDA recently announced the selection of 36 energy facilities that will accept biomass deliveries supported by the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
The energy facilities are located across 14 states. Biomass owners who supply these facilities may qualify for BCAP delivery assistance through the Farm Service Agency which started July 28, and will continue through Aug. 25.
'Dead forests' can lead to widespread 'megafires'
Coeur d'Alene Press
Scientists at the National Atmospheric Research Center in Boulder, Colorado, believe that the impact of dead or dying forests may actually be changing rainfall patterns, especially across the Intermountain regions from Washington State, where this month they've seen the worst wildfires in recorded history, southward through Oregon and drought-parched California and more. Changes in tree and plant populations likewise are suspected in raising temperatures as cloudcover levels and rainfall amounts diminish leading to drought and these "megafires" of historic proportions.
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