The use of residual forest biomass for rural development faces significant economic hurdles that make it unlikely to be a source of jobs in the near future, according to new research by economists from Oregon State University.
In a model of the forest industry, researchers in the College of Forestry combined an evaluation of costs for collecting, transporting and processing biomass with the potential locations of regional processing facilities in western Oregon.
Each location was chosen because it is adjacent to an existing or recently-closed wood product operation such as a sawmill or plywood manufacturing plant.The study, published in Forest Policy and Economics, focused on biomass generated during timber harvesting operations. Biomass consists of branches and treetops that are generally left in the woods or burned. In some highly accessible locations, these residues are ground up or chipped and used to make a product known as “hog fuel.”
“There’s a lot of interest in focusing on the use of biomass to meet multiple objectives, one of which is support for rural communities,” said Mindy Crandall, who led the research as a doctoral student at Oregon State and is an assistant professor at the University of Maine. “We thought this might provide some support for that idea,” she said. “But from a strictly market feasibility perspective, it isn’t all that likely that these facilities will be located in remote, struggling rural communities without targeted subsidies or support.”
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled there is a reasonable indication that softwood lumber imports from Canada materially injure the U.S. industry. How significant is this ruling to the trade dispute between the two countries? Joshua Zaret, senior industry analyst for packaging, paper and paper products, Bloomberg Intelligence speaks on The Daily Brief. (Source: Bloomberg)
As the world works to replace fossil fuels, wood pellets are playing a key role in decarbonizing power grids. European nations, in particular, have invested heavily in pellets for both heating and electricity generation. To supply this increased demand, global trade in pellets has doubled since 2012, with U.S., Canadian and European producers all playing a role. How this supply stream may evolve is the focus of the European Pellet Supply and Cost Analysis, a new study from RISI, an information provider for the global forest products industry.
By CATHERINE KAVANAUGH
A 2-year-old Maine start-up called Revolution Research Inc. was awarded a $100,000 federal grant to support its development of eco-friendly ceiling tiles made of a cellulose-based polymer.
Nadir Yildirim, president of the Orono-based business, said his small staff is using forest-based raw materials and nanotechnology to create a product that is durable, has high insulation properties, and can be composted. His goal is to achieve a 90 to 95 percent recycle rate for an industry seeking sustainable management of construction and demolition (C&D) materials.
By Robert Dalheim
Freres Lumber Co. hopes its new-to-market, veneer-based massive plywood panels will revolutionize construction.
The Oregon-based manufacturer announced its new veneer-based panels in October after more than a year of development and performance testing at Oregon State’s Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. Freres says the panels, known as Mass Plywood Panels (MPP), could be used for floors and walls in multi-story commercial buildings, and they could be made to order.
Designed to be an alternative to cross-laminated timber, Freres’ massive panels can be as much 12-feet wide, 48-feet long and 2-feet thick.
Freres says there are many potential benefits:Structures made of MPP could be made in days instead of months, says Freres, and use 20-30 percent less wood than cross-laminated timber. The lightweight nature of MPP could reduce truckload transport costs. Large format panels could be manufactured at a facility to include window, door, and all other required cut-outs – minimizing waste and labor on the job site.
Pellet Mill Magazine reviews Asian wood pellet production,export and import markets of Thailand, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and South Korea.
By Ron Kotrba | November 16, 2016
…In 2014, Thailand exported nearly 111,000 metric tons of wood pellets, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division (FAOSTAT). In 2015, however, Thai exports of wood pellets dropped considerably, to 25,429 tons. Contributing to Thai wood pellet exports to Japan and South Korea is BioPellets Thailand Co. Ltd. …According to FAOSTAT, Thailand’s cumulative wood pellet production has grown from 20,000 tons in 2013 to 115,000 tons in 2015.
…FAOSTAT data show that Indonesian wood pellet manufacturing doubled from 2013 to 2014, jumping from 40,000 tons to 80,000 tons in a year. Data estimates suggest a leveling off in Indonesian wood pellet production in 2015, remaining at 80,000 tons. In total, Indonesia exported slightly more than 37,000 tons in 2013, more than doubling to nearly 76,000 tons in 2014, with FAOSTAT estimates at roughly the same tonnage for 2015. A majority of Indonesian wood pellet exports are going to South Korea.
…China’s wood pellet production nearly doubled from 2013 to 2014, from 200,000 to 370,000 tons, according to FAOSTAT data. While 2015 production estimates show a leveling off, the country’s exportation of wood pellets skyrocketed from 2013 to 2014, jumping from a mere 3,293 tons in 2013 to 165,654 tons in 2014. Nearly all of the increase in production from 200,000 to 370,000 tons from 2013 to 2014 went to exports. However, though Chinese exports hit record highs in 2014, they nosedived a year later. In 2015, Chinese exports sank to 52,025 tons. According to an Argus Biomass Markets report, this marked reduction in Chinese exports was in large part due to cheaper Vietnamese competition carving out market share in the demanding South Korean pellet market.
…South Korea imports rallied from 122,447 tons in 2012 to 484,668 tons in 2013 to an impressive 1.85 million tons in 2014, according to official FAOSTAT data. Imports backed off in 2015, down to 1.47 million tons. Domestic production estimates are stagnant from 2012-‘15 at 15,000 tons annually.
As wood pellet imports in Japan begin to accelerate, industry professionals offer cautious optimism that an Asian market opportunity for North American producers has arrived.
In July, Japan imported 52,000 tons of wood pellets, eclipsing the previous monthly high of 51, 500 tons set in December 2015. Additionally, monthly volumes in 2016 have been more consistent in contrast to the peaks and valleys that defined 2014 and 2015. As a result, Japan is expected to finish 2016 having imported between 350,000 and 400,000 tons of wood pellets and producers around the world are optimistic that Japan’s wood pellet demand is set to rise steadily to 1 million tons per year within the next handful of years.
Members of Maine’s forest products economy are hailing the certification of Norway spruce as construction lumber – the first new species to be added to the list of approved lumber in about 80 years.The pretty evergreen with its gently sloping boughs was named to the list after five months of testing at the University of Maine. Researchers tested more than 1,300 pieces of lumber milled from Norway spruce grown in Maine, Vermont, New York and Wisconsin. On Oct. 20, the American Lumber Standards Committee approved the inclusion of Norway spruce for home construction and industrial applications.
With the U.S. Lumber Coalition free to file a new trade case against Canadian lumber producers as early as October 13, share prices across the sector are expected to come under pressure.
World governments currently meeting in Johannesburg have strongly backed the introduction of stronger measures to protect commercially traded timber species.
Delegates to the 17th Conference to the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP17) voted to list the entire Dalbergia genus within Appendix II of the Convention as well as three species of Guibourtia from Central Africa and Pterocarpus erinaceus from West Africa.
The Appendix II listings mean control measures will be put in place to control commercial international trade in the species.