By inserting a piece of code isolated from a Chinese herb into the DNA of a poplar tree, scientists at the University of British Columbia, Michigan State and University of Wisconsin-Madison have produced a tree designed for easy deconstruction. These trees can be sterilized to prevent “gene flow” and can be planted on agricultural land d unsuited to food crops, preventing competition.
Scientists at Oregon State University have uncovered a fundamental chemical discovery: cellulose, the most abundant organic polymer on Earth and a key component of trees, can be heated in a furnace in the presence of ammonia and turned into the building blocks for supercapacitors.
Researchers have created a greener, safer alternative to BPA using lignin, the compound that gives wood its strength. Of the 70 million tons of lignin byproduct generated each year, about 98% is incinerated to generate small amounts of energy. Nothing this, Kaleigh Reno, a graduate student from the University of Delaware heading the project, has developed a process that instead coverts lignin fragments into a compound called bisguaiacol-F (BGF), which has a similar shape to BPA.
“Would you like wood chips with that?” Virginia Tech professor Y.H. Percival Zhang believes that in the future, this won’t be such a preposterous question: he has developed a process that can transform wood chips, corn stems and other agricultural refuse into edible starches.
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) has been getting a lot of buzz lately as a carbon-retaining equivalent to steel, masonry and concrete. The strengthened engineered wood, based in Europe, has been featured for its accepted usage in skyscrapers.
A team from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies analyzed how much using solid wood products, burning wood for energy, and harvesting wood sustainably would yield in CO2/fossil fuel savings. Their findings, colloquially summarized as an “environmental win-win,” may surprise some.
As bad news for the pulp and paper industries in Maine dominate headlines, a 150-year-old mill has good news. Built in 1854 and consistently used to produce traditional paper products, Sappi Fine Paper is marketing itself a little differently these days.
“We do not sell paper, we sell texture,” said Donna Cassese, manager of the Westbrook-based mill.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new type of low-temperature fuel cell that directly converts biomass sources -including starch, cellulose, lignin, switchgrass, powdered wood, algae and waste from poultry processing- to electricity with assistance from a solar or thermal-induced hybrid fuel cell.
Solar technology is often lauded as one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of energy, but new technology might help make up for one of its downfalls. Solar cells often use a host of items such as rare earth metals and plastics, but researchers from the University of Maryland, the South China University of Technology, and the University of Nebraska- Lincoln have developed a new type of paper from wood fibers that could ultimately replace the plastic substrates u
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