Montana Tribes Part Of Renewable Energy Work

Leftover tree parts from logging operations usually end up as piles of useless ash, but academic researchers and tribal forestry officials hope that recent projects will result in less waste and a possible energy market for local forest products. Alaska Airlines hopes to fly a jet with biofuels produced by processing trees from the Flathead […]

Leftover tree parts from logging operations usually end up as piles of useless ash, but academic researchers and tribal forestry officials hope that recent projects will result in less waste and a possible energy market for local forest products.

Alaska Airlines hopes to fly a jet with biofuels produced by processing trees from the Flathead Reservation and other parts of the Pacific Northwest by 2016.

Jim Durglo, head of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Forestry department, said the Tribes recently contributed several tons of fuel to the jet fuel project, which is spearheaded by the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance. The alliance is a consortium of 22 member organizations, including the tribes, from industry, academia and government laboratories that have a five-year grant from the USDA to foster the development of the biojet and biofuels industries that utilize forest products that would otherwise become waste. The initiative is meant to help the U.S. reach its goal of producing 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022.

“Now we are in the process of making the fuel,” NARA Communication Coordinator Charles Burke said. The group hopes to make 1,000 gallons of biofuel that will be mixed with equal parts conventional fuel in an initial run. It will likely be a historic accomplishment as no other cellulosic, sugar-based biofuel has been used to fly a plane to date.

The project could eventually pave the way for a market for residual forest products for the Tribes, according to Durglo.

From the Valley Journal: http://www.valleyjournal.net/Article/13801/Flying-trees-Tribes-part-of-renewable-energy-work

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