Emerging Technologies Look To Woody Biomass

Researchers are looking for ways to turn low-grade fiber into a wide variety of products from jet fuel to clothing to building material and more. These technologies could drive improved demand for wood fiber. The emergence of profitable markets for woody biomass continues to be a topic of interest to operators in the wood products […]

Researchers are looking for ways to turn low-grade fiber into a wide variety of products from jet fuel to clothing to building material and more. These technologies could drive improved demand for wood fiber.

The emergence of profitable markets for woody biomass continues to be a topic of interest to operators in the wood products industry. Here are some of the emerging technologies that may or may not play a hand in shaping tomorrow’s global and regional fiber markets:

Maine’s Eastport Port Authority has announced its intention to install a shipboard phytosanitation system for treating mixed conifer biomass wood chip cargo at the port of Eastport. The system will be located on the pier, and operate during the process of loading wood chips aboard the vessel. The process calls for moisture laden, saturated air, heated to 60°C. to be forced into the hold and subsequently extracted by a low vacuum. The recirculated hot air process is monitored electronically, and maintained until the cargo has been subjected to 56°C for a period greater than 30 minutes, thus achieving phytosanitary certification for shipment to Europe.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) is offering financing of $1.65 million to complete the project, which is anticipated to benefit the port, surrounding region as well as Maine’s forest products industry.

Phyto-Charter, the developer of the technology, will receive a royalty fee of 50 cents per ton when wood product is moved through the port using the equipment. The idea behind the technology is to develop a new use for low-grade fiber by opening up European markets. But first the woody biomass must be heat treated to ensure that wood pests are killed.

Read more from Pallet Enterprise at http://www.palletenterprise.com/view_article/4821/Emerging-Technologies-Look-to-Biomass.

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