Forest Products Laboratory Joins $5.8 Million Federal Biomass Research

Humboldt State University (HSU), along with 15 regional partners including the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), has received a $5.88 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct innovative biomass research. The grant is part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy and the Department of […]

Humboldt State University (HSU), along with 15 regional partners including the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL), has received a $5.88 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct innovative biomass research. The grant is part of the Biomass Research and Development Initiative, a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture that supports renewable energy research in the rural United States.

Under the grant, a team of scholars, industry partners, and forestland managers led by HSU forestry professor Han-Sup Han will build on existing research for converting forest residues into renewable fuel and other valuable bio-based products. Forest residues include limbs, treetops, and other materials left on the forest floor after timber harvesting. Often considered waste material and not effectively used, forest residues are an undervalued source of potential bioenergy. Strategic use of woody biomass has the potential to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and promote economic development in rural America.

The grant will allow research teams comprising investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and private sector partners to address technical challenges. Forest residues can be turned into renewable fuel and other valuable bio-based products and make bioenergy technologies more marketable. The three research areas will be feedstock (processed forest residues) supply, mobile conversion technologies, and economic life-cycle analysis.

Ted Bilek, an economist at FPL, will lead the economic life-cycle analysis group. Bilek’s team will conduct a life-cycle analysis documenting the economic benefits and other environmental effects related to using forest residues. “It’s not enough that the technologies work and produce energy,” Bilek says. “They also need to be economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally sustainable. These are the focuses of our group. Our research will also help to highlight areas that offer the greatest potentials to improve returns and to ensure long-term sustainability.”

From Woodworking Network: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/production-woodworking/woodworking-machinery-technology/Forest-Products-Lab-Joins-58-Million-Federal-Biomass-Research-Federal-Grant-274002711.html?ref=711#sthash.bl8TxWij.vecnrzBi.dpbs

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