Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: March 17, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

Breaking news – monstrous fire destroys 6-7 story wood building

Tree Frog Forestry News
March 17, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

Breaking news from Raleigh, North Carolina – a “monstrous fire destroys a six-to-seven-story apartment building”. The wood-frame building was under construction and thus “not protected” said Raleigh Fire Chief Brad Harvey. He added—given the challenges faced by his crew—“we’re very fortunate tonight”.

Canada’s softwood lumber industry is parsing every word from US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who said the dispute is at the “top of his list”. Paul Whittaker, of the Alberta Forest Products Association, pointed out that Mr. Lighthizer, was “unsurprisingly careful” with his language, adding “He says he heard the concerns of the U.S. industry. But what I did not hear him say was if he agrees with, or buys, the U.S. industry argument”.

The US Forest Service and National Park Service will see deep cuts if Trump’s proposed 2018 budget is approved; 21% for the Dept. of Agriculture (think forest fires and wood promotion) and 12% for the Dept. of Interior (think parks). The detailed spending changes are not yet known.

Finally, lots of stories on bioenergy today, including: Scientists use solar energy to produce clean hydrogen from biomass (U of Cambridge); A beneficial way to dispose of the Sierra’s lost trees—use them for energy (LA Times); and Biofuels could limit jet contrails (BBC News).

–Tree Frog Editors

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Froggy Foibles

Cut chocolate cravings by visualising a forest

You.co.za
March 16, 2017
Category: Froggy Foibles
Region: International

Imaging a forest or a beach scene could be the cure for chocoholics craving the sweet stuff… per a new study from Australia… “We found that cognitive diffusion lowered the intrusiveness of thoughts, vividness of imagery before, and craving intensity for both the general test group, and for those who craved chocolate and wished to eat less chocolate,” said lead researcher Dr Sophie Schumacher, from Flinders University in Adelaide. “If we tackle the issue when it first pops up in your mind – particularly if you are not hungry – then it’s much easier than waiting for those cravings to gather force… e.g., giving yourself a constructive distraction such as imaging a walk in a forest – can help to lower the intrusiveness of the thoughts.

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Business & Politics

Canada’s softwood lumber industry braces as U.S. eyes ‘new agreement’

By Josh O’Kane
The Globe and Mail
March 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canada’s softwood lumber industry is carefully parsing every word from United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who said the Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute is at the “top of his list” of trade priorities with Canada… Paul Whittaker, chief executive of the Alberta Forest Products Association, pointed out that Mr. Lighthizer, a former deputy U.S. trade representative under Ronald Reagan, was unsurprisingly careful with his language, given his deep experience. “He says he heard the concerns of the U.S. industry. … But what I did not hear him say was if he agrees with, or buys, the U.S. industry argument”… Some Canadians are optimistic this time around, thanks in part to political turnover. “It doesn’t seem to me that the U.S. coalition has the same political influence south of the border that they once had,” said Seth Kursman, vice-president with Resolute Forest Products… Others, however, hear a more hard-line stance in Mr. Lighthizer’s words. 

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Canfor Pulp Ready for Next Phase of Bio-Fuel Project

By Elaine Macdonald-Meisner
250 News
March 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Prince George, B.C.- With $13 million dollars in grant money from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada fund, Canfor Pulp’s bio-crude project can take a leap forward. “It’s going to allow us to advance the technology and really give us the means to make a full evaluation of how to implement the technology on a commercial scale” says Martin Pudlas, Canfor Pulp’s Vice President of Operations. The project , in partnership with Licella Fibre Fuels of Australia, is attempting to make bi-crude from the waste stream of the pulp process. Pudlas says the funds announced earlier this week, will “further de-risk the technology.

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Vavenby mill wins Polar Cup again

North Thompson Times
March 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The employees at Canfor’s Vavenby sawmill are big supporters of their local United Way and they have proven it with a trophy-winning donation of $37,000. Every year, Canfor operations in B.C. and Alberta run a fall campaign to donate to the United Way – money donated goes to United Way organizations in Vancouver, East Kootenays, Kamloops, northern B.C., and Grande Prairie. The division with the highest donation (per employee) wins the Polar Cup, bragging rights for a year, and a steak dinner served at their mill by the Canfor senior team… No division has ever won the Polar Cup three years in a row and Vavenby is determined to be sitting down for another steak dinner next year.

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Trump budget proposes big changes in Forest Service, Interior spending

By Rob Chaney
Helena Independent Record
March 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

MISSOULA – Montana’s two biggest federal players – the Forest Service and National Park Service – would see deep cuts and big changes under President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 budget. The Department of Agriculture would absorb a 21 percent, $4.7 billion reduction. The Department of Interior, headed by former Montana congressman Ryan Zinke, would see a 12 percent, $1.5 billion cut. Trump’s 62-page budget document does not provide detailed spending changes, but its narrative highlights certain priorities. Both departments commit to fully funding wildland firefighting through the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management at 100 percent of their respective 10-year averages. That works out to $2.4 billion for the Forest Service, while BLM’s figure was not specified.

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Dan’s dilemma: it could have cost half a million to save each job at Heyfield

By Josh Gordon and Richard Willingham
The Age Australia
March 17, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

The political headache over the Heyfield mill is a symptom of a more profound issue facing the state: Victoria is running out of wood for logging. The state is also running short on jobs in regional areas, especially in the Latrobe Valley. In attempting to juggle these competing imperatives, the Andrews government has landed in the muck in a painfully contorted position with its plan for the mill looking worse for wear. The furious owners now say the mill will close permanently in 18 months, with the company looking at moving its high-value manufacturing operations to Tasmania, where the state government looks set to open up more forests for logging.

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Heyfield timber mill could be taken over by Victorian Government if board chooses to close it

By Peter Lusted
ABC News Australia
March 16, 2017
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says his Government could take the “unconventional” step of taking over the Heyfield timber mill to save more than 250 jobs, after months of uncertainty about the mill’s future. The board of mill owners Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) met on Thursday night to decide whether to accept the latest timber supply offer from the state-owned logging company VicForests. ASH has been warning it may need to shut the mill down because of supply issues, and the ABC understands it has also deemed the most recent offer unsustainable. VicForests’ initial offer of a short-term contract at half the previous volume of logs, due to dwindling supply, was rejected by ASH in January.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Small Okanagan town has modern value added industry

By Jim Hilton, retired professional agrologist and forester
Williams Lake Tribune
March 17, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

A January 2014 article in the Logging and Sawmilling Journal describes how a value added company started out over 50 years ago producing glu-lam products. After being taken over by a Vancouver based company in 2007 Structurelam added the Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) technology. This company is located in the small town of Okanagan Falls in the B.C. Interior. A recent 2013 purchase was a $1.5 million computer controlled panel cutting robot that cuts and drills CLT panels. These wood panels up to 12 metres long, three metres wide and 350 millimetres thick are made of three to nine layers of finger jointed wood (usually two by six) with each layer alternating 90 degrees.

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The Importance of Understanding Treated Lumber

By ProWood Lumber
LBM Journal
March 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

As more and more homeowners look at decks as extensions of their home, the variety of low-maintenance and wood-alternative decking and railing options continue to grow and diversify. Despite the recent growth of alternative materials for decking and railing, pressure-treated lumber is king. Recent studies indicate that over 95% of decks use pressure-treated lumber for the under-structure, and over 70% of decks use pressure-treated lumber for the decking.  

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Monstrous fire destroys apartment building in downtown Raleigh

ABC Eyewitness News
March 17, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

RALEIGH, North Carolina — A huge five-alarm fire destroyed a six-to-seven-story apartment building under construction in downtown Raleigh Thursday night… The wood construction of the Metropolitan apartment complex made fighting the blaze challenging. Stunned Raleigh residents and visitors poured out onto sidewalks and streets as the massive blaze filled the area with heavy smoke. “They immediately tried to put water on it but as they approached they noticed it was a lot of heavy fire,” Raleigh Fire Department Assistant Chief Brad Harvey said. “Especially under construction. The wood is not protected and the fire moves very rapidly. We’re very fortunate tonight.”… The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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Wood homes investigated as low-cost solution

By Kate Fielding
The West Australian
March 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Timber-framed buildings could be a solution to low-cost housing in Bunbury with the idea being floated by experts. The use of timber in houses would be in line with the Bunbury Geographe Regional Growth Plan launched last month, which includes the promotion of timber in the region. Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan revealed to the South Western Times, that “very early” discussions around the idea were under way and the concept could benefit the city socially and economically. “One of the things about Bunbury is that we’ve been described as too expensive to build in our CBD,” Mr Brennan said. “So that gives us another option as well, but I’m really focusing on affordable housing. “It’s very early days, but what we’re looking at is what are the possibilities of constructing timber-framed residential buildings within our city, which would be low-cost and affordable.

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Laminated veneer lumber

By Pollimeier Inc.
Woodworking Network
March 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Pollmeier says it has developed a new technology which allows it to economically product top-quality laminated veneer lumber from beech for structural applications. Called BauBuche, it uses raw material from local and sustainably managed forests in its production. In one of the most modern production facilities in Europe, the tree is rotary peeled and transformed into a high-tech material with hardly any waste. BauBuche comprises boards and beams for timber construction as well as panels for furniture an interior design.

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Forestry

Greenpeace has the right to free speech

Letter by Greenpeace
Vancouver Sun
March 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: Resolute attacks were opinions: Greenpeace, March 3. Peter Kuitenbrouwer’s recent article relies heavily on false accusations contained in an op-ed written by Resolute CEO and President Richard Garneau, wherein he takes legal statements out of context and conflates two completely different and independent cases — one for defamation and economic interference filed in Ontario and another for defamation and racketeering filed in the state of Georgia. Garneau argues that Greenpeace has suddenly “admitted” in U.S. court documents that our joint work is not based on facts. On the contrary, Greenpeace Canada and Greenpeace U.S. have consistently held that any statements of opinion Greenpeace has made about Resolute’s forestry practices have been based on sound science and verifiable facts, and these informed opinions are protected under U.S. free speech law and Canadian law.

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Trail proves otherwise

Letter by Glen Bonderud, Chair, Sunshine Coast Community Forest, Sechelt 
Sunshine Coast Reporter
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Re: “Trails need forests” by Ross Muirhead, Letters, March 3. Usually the Community Forest does not respond to letters to the editor – however, Mr. Muirhead gives a very one-sided view of trails. While the Trails Society, hiking clubs and mountain biking community can speak for themselves, I would like to point out the Community Forest does support, philosophically and financially, sanctioned trails and supports the Trails Society in their strategic plans and the building of designated trails. The Community Forest also financed the construction of the New Frogger trail in Halfmoon Bay, which was built entirely in our harvested cutblock HM48. It was built to replace the use of the Telus Tower Road in the BC Bike Race. New Frogger was designed by two local mountain bike experts and was specifically designed as a climbing trail for the BC Bike Race. 

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Inaccuracies riddle forestry column

Letter to the Editor by Art Betke
Prince George Citizen
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

I would like to address some inaccurate comments by Ben Parfitt in his March 10 column… 
Mr. Parfitt claims that in the Prince George Timber Supply Area, “logging rates must decline by half because of years of unsustainable logging.” Absolutely false. They must decline because of the pine beetle. If we had not escalated the cut, logging rates would still have to decline to the same levels. The trees are dead, whether we cut them or not. Mr. Parfitt suggests requiring that all logs within defined regions be delivered to regionally managed log yards and auctioned to the highest bidders. I wonder, does he have any idea of the amount of logs that flow into our mills in the course of a year?… The fact is, in this area, lumber is the best that we can produce, the tenure quota system ensures continuity of supply, a basis for planning and stability of costs. Is the system perfect? No, but I would suggest that before calling for such a massive change, Mr. Parfitt should do a bit more research into the industry.

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Researchers make surprise discovery of endangered bats in Alberta’s Boreal Forest

By: Matt Kieltyka
Metro News
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Researchers in Alberta have stumbled on a large population of endangered bats in the Boreal Forest that could be critical for conservation efforts. White nose syndrome has wreaked havoc on bat populations in eastern U.S. and Canada (mortality rates are as high as 95 per cent) and was discovered in Washington State for the first time last year. Biologists fear it’s just a matter of time before the deadly fungus reaches Alberta’s bats. So finding a cluster of more than 200 Little Brown Myotis bats in a newly explored area of the northern forest, far from their usual hibernation site in the Rocky Mountains, was a big deal for the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (WSC) and Alberta Environment and Parks scientists… Critchley said researchers only know where about 10 per cent of bats go to hibernate in the winter, so discovering new clusters can help scientists monitor conditions, get a better sense of their population and watch out for signs of white nose syndrome.

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Tree Canada to start pilot project planting thousands of seedlings this spring

By Cullen Bird
Fort McMurray Today
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tree Canada plans to plant 68,000 seedlings in Thickwood and Saprae Creek this spring as a pilot project, Tree Canada representatives told residents at an information session Wednesday night. The planting is expected to begin at the end of May as part of Operation ReLeaf, which is expected to continue into 2018 and perhaps 2019… Tree Canada has $1.3 million to put towards replanting efforts in Fort McMurray, Michael Rosen said. “Our intention is to help replace the trees lost in parks, on streetsides,” Rosen said.

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Pacheedaht First Nation, Cowichan Lake invited to apply for community forest

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Government of British Columbia
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

DUNCAN – Proponents of the Qala-yit [Kwah-LIE-it] Community Forest are being invited to apply for a unique community forest agreement, the first community forest agreement that allows for a new form of partnership with BC Timber Sales through a reduced volume condition contained in the agreement… The invitation to apply is for approximately 8,018 hectares of Crown land to be managed as a community forest. Once the allowable annual cut of the tenure is determined, BC Timber Sales will retain the rights of 7,296 cubic metres for disposition.

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First ever “Made in Canada” wasps grown at Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Sault Online
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service (CFS) scientists are hoping to fight nature with nature by growing parasitic wasps that target and attack the emerald ash borer. The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a devastating invasive beetle which has killed millions of ash trees in Canada and the United States. In response to this threat, CFS is partnering with its U.S. counterparts in a classical biological control program against this invasive pest in an attempt to limit or slow its continued spread and impact in Canada. After conducting surveys in the native range of EAB in China and Russia, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) selected four species of parasitic wasps for release in North America against the borer. The tiny wasps are known technically as “parasitoids” because they end up killing the host insect on which they feed. Early results in the US are promising.

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Forests Ontario 50 Million Tree Program

By Forests Ontario
The Review Newspaper
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada East, Canada

Spring is for new ideas. If you have 2.5 acres or more of open land, you may be eligible for the 50 Million Tree Program, and the trees would be planted for you. If you are considering a large-scale planting on your property, the 50 Million Tree Program can help by providing both funding support to cover a significant portion (up to 80%) of the total planting costs and technical assistance. A local planting partner will work with you to develop a site plan that suits your property’s unique needs; they will do the planting and conduct follow up assessments in subsequent years.

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Senators’ proposal would make way for young loggers

Associated Press in Idaho Statesman
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

BRUNSWICK, MAINE – Senators from Maine and Idaho are introducing legislation they say would make it easier for aspiring young loggers to get into the business. Sens. Angus King, a Maine independent, and Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, announced the bill on Thursday. They say the legislation would level the playing field with other agricultural fields by allowing family members to get experience in logging from an earlier age so they can carry on a family business. The senators are calling the proposal the Future Logging Careers Act.

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As State Budgets Falter, Oklahoma Turns to Other States to Fight Its Most Dangerous Wildfires

By Joe Wertz
StateImpact Oklahoma
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: US East, United States

Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires. A week after the fire started, state forestry director George Geissler oversaw the state’s response at a makeshift operations center at the Woodward County Fairgrounds. “It’s got multiple fires, it’s got multiple communities and has all these different fire departments and jurisdictions going in and has hundreds of people on it,” he said. “That’s a complex situation to deal with.”

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Trees can Talk, See and Even Fight Enemies

By Nikki Fotheringham
Green Moxie
March 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The hills are alive! Ground-breaking research into trees and plants is revealing that they are much more complex and intelligent than we originally thought. Trees and plants can talk to each other, see, share food and even go to war. We know that plants can ‘see’ because they grow towards the light, but their abilities are so much more complex than that. Plants actually have rudimentary ‘eyes’ called ocilli. František Baluška, a plant cell biologist at the University of Bonn in Germany, and Stefano Mancuso, a plant physiologist at the University of Florence in Italy have reason to believe that your garden may be watching you. In a recent study, they discovered that cyanobacteria allow light in at one end of their body, then stretch out to focus the light on a lens at the other end like a very simple eye.

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Logging in Tasmania: Bill to unlock forests passes first hurdle in Parliament

By Emilie Gramenz and Elise Fantin
ABC News, Australia
March 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The Tasmanian Government’s contentious forestry bill will be scrutinised closely in Parliament’s Upper House, with many of the independent Members of the Legislative Council indicating they are not sold on the legislation. The State Government’s plan will allow logging in 356,000 hectares of land otherwise protected under a moratorium until 2020. The legislation has been widely opposed, with even the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania promising to campaign against the move.The Government used its numbers in the Lower House to pass the bill after a debate that stretched to almost 3:00am on Friday. Labor and the Greens voted against it.

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13,000 acres of cloud forest now protected in Colombia

By Lillie Howell
Mongabay.com
March 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

The cloud forest ecoregion of the Colombian Andes is arguably the most biodiverse in the world. A moist climate, varying altitudes, and high rates of endemism create idyllic conditions for life. However, cloud forests are also under siege from numerous human-related threats such as climate change, mining, commercial logging, and subsistence hunting. Though there is no foreseeable end to the epic battle between forest loss and forest conservation in South America, conservationists won a small victory in December 2016 with the creation of the 13,000 acre Cacica Noría Regional Protected Area in Colombia… Cacica Noría will protect plant species ravaged by commercial logging such as the black oak and the comino tree, both endemic to Colombia. Other important species include jaguars and pumas, which often fall victim to retaliatory killings by local farmers.

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Pines look shy of long-term demand

Otago Daily Times
March 17, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

A 5% decline in New Zealand’s overall plantation area during the past decade is leading many industry participants to worry about the long-term supply of wood beyond 2030. ANZ’s latest Agri-Focus report focused on the forestry industry which was experiencing a period of strong returns. That was fuelled by a combination of steady Chinese demand, further restrictions in export markets on harvesting of native forests, low shipping costs, a local market building boom and the US dollar’s value relative to the kiwi. Many of those trends looked as if they could extend for years, supporting demand for forestry products and returns.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

A beneficial way to dispose of the Sierra’s lost trees: Use them for energy

By Jacques Leslie
Los Angeles Times
March 16, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

When the Forest Service announced its calculation last November that the Sierra Nevada contained 102 million dead trees, it conveyed the immensity of a tragedy that is unprecedented in California’s history. It also challenged planners and innovators to find a beneficial use for at least some of the dead trees. As it turns out, there is one… A better approach would convert the dead trees into energy. In the early 1990s California had as many as 66 large power plants that produced electricity from wood and agricultural waste, but more than half of them closed when government price supports expired. In any case, the technology, which uses combustion, is problematic: Burning tree waste produces substantial greenhouse gas emissions, and transporting the waste to faraway plants adds still more emissions and increases the cost… However, in recent years, a few innovative small companies have developed ways of producing energy from the dead trees in an environmentally sound way. 

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Scientists use solar energy to produce clean hydrogen from biomass

Down to Earth.org
March 16, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have developed a sunlight-powered technology to produce clean fuel from unprocessed biomass. The technology claims producing clean fuel, which is relatively cheap and sustainable, from biomass. The University of Cambridge said in a release that so far, lignocelluloses—the main component in plant biomass—was converted into hydrogen gas through a gasification process, which uses high temperatures for decomposition… The joint lead author, David Wakerley from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge says, “There’s a lot of chemical energy stored in raw biomass, but it is unrefined. So, you cannot expect it to work in complicated machinery such as a car engine.”… The team used various types of biomass, including pieces of wood, paper and leaves.

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Opinion: Biomaths – why burning wood pellets doesn’t pay

By Sam Bright
Energy Voice
March 16, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

The UK is finally moving beyond burning coal to generate electricity. Many in government and industry have held up biomass as its natural, renewable replacement. Billed as low-carbon and easy to burn using existing technologies, it’s an apparently ideal solution and in the UK, it’s riding a wave of subsidies. But it’s time to shed some light on the dubious evidence that lends biomass its status as a renewable energy source. Whose emissions are they anyway? The UK’s enthusiasm for biomass is based on a massive carbon accounting error: carbon emissions from power plants burning wood pellets for electricity are simply not counted. In the UK, all emissions from burning biomass are attributed to the land use and forestry sectors. They are ignored completely by the energy sector. This is done with the best intentions – to avoid double-counting of emissions. But in our haste not to count the emissions twice, we end up not properly counting them at all.

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Climate change: Biofuels ‘could limit jet contrails’

By Jonathan Amos
BBC News
March 17, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Some close-quarter flying has provided new insights into aircraft pollution. US space agency-led scientists flew small, instrumented, chase planes directly in the exhaust plume of a big jet to measure the sorts of gases and particles being thrown out. The data suggests aircraft burning a mix of aviation kerosene and biofuel could reduce their climate impact. …[Tests] involved flying a DC-8 at cruising speed and altitude – to try to simulate real-world conditions. …What the team found was that the blended fuel, taking account of varying flying conditions, was producing 50% less black carbon by number and up to 70% by mass. “We were testing in what we call the soot-rich regime,” Prof Weinzierl said. “Models tells us if you reduce the number concentration of black carbon then you will reduce the number concentration of ice crystals. So this could be a way to mitigate the climate impacts of aviation,” she told BBC News.

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