Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

USDA Invests in Research to Convert Beetle-Killed Trees into Renewable Energy

usda forest 300WASHINGTON, D.C. (11/7/13) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it has awarded nearly $10 million to a consortium of academic, industry and government organizations led by Colorado State University (CSU) and their partners to research using insect-killed trees in the Rockies as a sustainable feedstock for bioenergy. The award, provided under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), is part of USDA's effort to develop modern solutions for climate challenges in agriculture and natural resource management. AFRI is provided under the Farm Bill, and Secretary Vilsack highlighted the need for passage of a comprehensive, long-term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to continue groundbreaking agricultural research across the nation.

"Infestations of pine and spruce bark beetles have impacted over 42 million acres of U.S. forests since 1996, and a changing climate threatens to expand the threat from bark beetle on our forest lands," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "As we take steps to fight the bark beetle, this innovative research will help take the biomass that results from bark beetle infestation and create clean, renewable energy that holds potential for job creation and promises a cleaner future for America. This is yet another reminder of the critical investments provided by the Farm Bill for agricultural research, and I urge Congress to achieve passage of a new, long term Food, Farm and Jobs Bill as soon as possible."

Vilsack noted that the funding for this research is provided by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) – a 2008 Farm Bill program – and reiterated the critical need for passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that adequately invests in groundbreaking agricultural research.

There are many benefits to using beetle-killed wood for renewable fuel production. It requires no cultivation, circumvents food-versus-fuel concerns and likely has a highly favorable carbon balance. However, there are some challenges that have been a barrier to its widespread use. The wood is typically located far from urban industrial centers, often in relatively inaccessible areas with challenging topography, which increases harvest and transportation costs. In addition to technical barriers, environmental impacts, social issues and local policy constraints to using beetle-killed wood and other forest residues remain largely unexplored.

CSU researchers, together with other scientists from universities, government and private industry in the region, created the Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies (BANR) to address these challenges. The project will undertake comprehensive economic, environmental and social/policy assessment, and integrate research results into a web-based, user-friendly decision support system. CSU will collaborate with partners across four states to complete the project. Partners include: University of Idaho, University of Montana, Montana State University and the University of Wyoming, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, National Renewable Energy Lab and Cool Planet Energy Systems. More information is available on the project website at banr.colostate.edu.

Specifically, the team will explore recent advances in scalable thermochemical conversion technologies, which enable the production of advanced liquid biofuel and co-products on-site. The project is working with Cool Planet Energy Systems, which is based out of Greenwood Village, Colorado. The company's prototype pyrolysis system can be tailored to the amount of feedstock available and thus can be deployed in close proximity to stands of beetle-killed timber. This localized production leads to significantly lower costs related to wood harvest and transportation. Their distributed scalable biorefinery approach is a key element in making the use of insect-damaged trees as feedstock plausible.

As a NIFA Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP), this grant brings together teams of researchers that represent various geographic areas to support discovery, applications and promote communication leading to innovative, science-based solutions to critical and emerging national priorities and needs. This year's awards broaden NIFA's CAP bioenergy portfolio, which includes six projects awarded since 2010 focusing on woody biomass, switchgrass and perennial grasses, energy cane and sorghum.

NIFA made the awards through The AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy challenge area, which targets the development of regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products that contribute significantly to reducing dependence on foreign oil; have net positive social, environmental, and rural economic impacts; and are compatible with existing agricultural and forest production systems. All grants are awarded over a period of five years, with continued funding contingent on annual project success.

AFRI is NIFA's flagship competitive grant program and was established under the 2008 Farm Bill. AFRI supports work in six priority areas: 1) plant health and production and plant products; 2) animal health and production and animal products; 3) food safety, nutrition and health; 4) renewable energy, natural resources and environment; 5) agriculture systems and technology; and 6) agriculture economics and rural communities.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is available at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

SurfKY News
Information provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted
button coupons
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
button classifieds

In Other News...

Toler, Craft, Catlett, Langhi Chosen Among All-WKC First Team

CHRISTIAN COUNTY (11/28/14) — All-WKC football teams announced The 2014 All-Western Kentucky Conference football teams… Read More

Madisonville Man Charged with Selling Cocaine

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (11/26/14) ― A Madisonville man has been taken into custody and charged with several drug-related… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

November 22, 2014 5418

One Injured in Two Vehicle Collision in Greenville

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Miria Thomas
November 24, 2014 3583

Two Charged for Possession of Meth After…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by MCSO/PIO Alex Piper
November 21, 2014 3533

Kentucky Employers to Save About $112 million

in General News For All Sites by Cathy Lindsey
November 25, 2014 2830

Call for Help Results in Arrest for Possession of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 25, 2014 2763

Madisonville Man Charged for Selling Cocaine

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
November 22, 2014 2706

Greenville Representatives Taking Part in Austin,…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 21, 2014 2528

KSP Announces 'Cram the Cruiser' to Feed the…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Stu Recke
November 22, 2014 2515

SAR Planning 'Triple' Revolutionary War Patriot…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Geoff Baggett
November 24, 2014 2499

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Sheila Hopper
November 24, 2014 2482

Madisonville Police Charge Woman with Terroristic…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department

Stories Trending Today

November 26, 2014 1826

Greene Leaf Boutique Offers Style for Less

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
November 26, 2014 1457

Madisonville Man Charged with Selling Cocaine

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Lt. William W. Poe
November 27, 2014 1372

Sons of American Revolution Hold Triple Grave…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Geoff Baggett
November 26, 2014 1327

Don't Let Your Thanksgiving Go Up in Smoke

in General News For All Sites by Kip Diggs
November 27, 2014 1318

Caretender's Staff Cares About Feeding Needy…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
November 27, 2014 1285

MCTI Presents 'The Santaland Diaries'

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
November 26, 2014 1238

Thanksgiving is Top Day for Cooking Fires

in Top News For All Sites by Ricki Gardenhire
November 27, 2014 1218

MSA Thanksgiving Food Box Drive

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
November 26, 2014 1099

Gift Exchange Dos and Don'ts

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
November 26, 2014 928

Ready Your Home for Holiday Guests

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss