Forest Action Plans

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Biomass & Renewable Energy

Genetically engineered poplar trees may open door for cheaper biofuels

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.

From cheap wood to high power: cellulose to energy storage

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.

Regulations on wood stoves curbed in Missouri

Members of the Missouri House of Representatives came together in a bipartisan effort Tuesday morning to approve a bill that prohibits the implementation of regulations on wood-burning heaters.

Safe BPA alternative could come from trees

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.

In the future, will we be eating bark?

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 comes to the States

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.

Sustainable wood harvesting is an “environmental win-win”

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. 

Innovation in the paper industry: Maine’s oldest paper mill has new tricks

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.

Electricity from biomass – with a little help from solar

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.

Potential for solar cells to go greener with wood fiber components

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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