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Research yields gasoline from sawdust
Researchers at KU Leuven’s Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline, or as a component in plastics. The researchers reported their findings in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
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Myrtle Beach metro leads US in new home construction permit growth
The Sun News
The Myrtle Beach metro area, in South Carolina, led the nation in the rate of increase in new home construction permits from 2013 to this year, according to newhomesource.com, and the new residents moving into those new homes are helping fuel the area’s reblooming jobs market, recently named sixth fastest growing in the U.S.
“It looks like you guys have been sitting back for so long, builders are getting property back on line and there’s pent-up demand,” said Blair Kuhnen, marketing director for the new homes listing website.
EPA official supports biomass exemptions from greenhouse gas regulation
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official has recommended exempting whole classes of biomass fuels from proposed greenhouse gas regulation.
The move by Janet McCabe, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation, is contrary to the EPA’s revised draft framework for counting greenhouse gas emissions from biomass energy, according to an email statement from Mary Booth, director of the environmental advocacy group Partnership for Policy Integrity.
Report charts path to development of cellulosic nanomaterials
USDA via Biomass Magazine
The U.S. Forest Service has released a report that details the pathway to commercializing affordable, renewable and biodegradable cellulose nanomaterials from trees. Cellulosic nanomaterials are tiny, naturally occurring structural building blocks and hold great promise for many new and improved commercial products. Commercializing these materials also has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs while helping to restore our nation's forests.
Growth in renovation industry spurs employment
By Archita Datta Majumdar
The U.S. construction industry is on an upward swing, which has led to record employment figures. Construction and renovation firms have added 20,000 jobs this year, reaching a five-year high in August, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. This accelerated employment growth was the largest since 2006, with residential building and specialty trade contractors adding a maximum number of employees at 5.7 percent. Continued recovery in the construction sector also means that the number of workers looking for work is steadily falling.
Scientist finds new ash borer host
Yellow Springs News
A local white fringe tree planted along the bike path is now famous as the first documented non-ash tree host of an invasive beetle that was thought to only prey upon ashes.
Also famous is the local ecologist who made the discovery thanks to perseverance — and a little luck.
Louisiana wood pellet plants will cater to Europe's energy needs
The Huffington Post
Louisiana, an oil-and-gas state, is half covered by timber, making forest products a big business. Companies including Drax Biomass, Biomass Secure Power and German Pellets GmbH plan to churn out wood pellets from new plants here to meet Europe's need for electricity and heat provided by renewable fuels. With its trees, waterways and ports, Louisiana can help quench a growing pellet thirst without deforesting the state, industry members said recently.
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US Forest Service exceeds yearly forest restoration goals
Grand Rapids Herald-Review (opinion)
The U.S. Forest Service has exceeded its forest restoration goals for fiscal year 2014, highlighting the agency’s continued commitment to improving the health of the America’s national forests, reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire and protecting watersheds. The Forest Service has made strategic investments across all agency programs to advance efforts to create resilient forests and sustainable communities.
The international hardwood lumber market and potential impacts on your bottom line
Even if you don’t sell logs or lumber to foreign customers, the international hardwood market can impact your business in significant ways, and smart business leaders are taking notice so that they are ready for shifting market impacts.
Many people believe that lumber exporting is only an opportunity for larger sawmills. However, even if you have a portable mill operating somewhere in the Midwest and sell your higher grade lumber to a yard, there is a high probability that some of that lumber will eventually be exported.
Oregon proposes tax credit rollback for biomass
The Oregon Department of Energy is proposing a change that would reduce tax incentives for biomass facilities.
Matt Krumenauer, a senior policy analyst with the agency, said the tax program was intended to offset the costs of producing, collecting and transporting biomass.
US construction spending rises 1.1 percent in October
The Associated Press via FOX News
Newly built homes and schools boosted U.S. construction spending in October to the highest level since May.
The Commerce Department says construction spending rose 1.1 percent in October, after having slipped 0.1 percent in September.
Report assesses value of cofiring biomass with coal
U.S. Department of Energy via Biomass Magazine
A joint Idaho National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report presents the results of an evaluation funded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office that examines the effects of substituting up to 20 percent renewable biomass for coal in electricity production. This report is the first publicly available assessment of its kind to investigate the impacts of co-firing biomass with coal at concentrations greater than 10 percent biomass without modification to the pulverized coal plant or its feed system.
Disruptive plastic products rapidly emerging in green building field
By Don Rosato
Green building technology redefines how we make and live in buildings. From a plastics material and processing perspective, we can both reduce a building's energy consumption and simultaneously provide for a building's energy production. These plastic material and process advances "disrupt" an existing market by displacing earlier technology. Let's delve into some emerging green building technologies that involve plastic material and processing aspects.
USDA announces support for producers of advanced biofuel
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Dec. 2, that the USDA is making $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers across the nation to support the production of advanced biofuels, and is awarding more than $4 million in additional grants that will advance the bioeconomy and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. “Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America’s energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources,” Vilsack said.
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