NE506: Wood Utilization Research on US Biofuels, Bioproducts, Hybrid Biomaterials Composites Production, and Traditional Forest Products
- August 01, 2007 to July 31, 2009
- Administrative Advisor(s):
Frederick A. Servello
- NIFA Reps:
Statement of Issue(s) and Justification:Through participation in this integrated multistate research effort, we hope to extend our capabilities allowing the participating University programs to contribute to an enhanced understanding of wood science and utilization. Initially three states will be involved in this multistate effort but as other programs around the country develop interest, this research can be expanded to include a broader nation-wide effort.
Our overall goal is the enhanced utilization of wood and the development of sustainable and environmentally appropriate solutions to national problems.
Specific objectives include:
- Exploration of new methods for producing biofuels from non-food substrates
- Elucidation of biological and chemical mechanisms involved in lignocellulose biomodification
- Investigation of the logistical issues of blending, transport, and storage of lignocellulosic bioethanol
- Production of carbon nanotubes and nanofibers from lignocellulosic plant materials
- Ascertain what industrial tracking technologies are available, and which alternatives have the greatest likelihood for success in the hardwood sawmilling industry for log to board tracking.
- Develop hybrid structural composite products using underutilized upland hardwoods and formulated through innovative compositions of waste materials
- Development of new fiber-based composite products
- Improvement of viability of OSB and OSL plants in the northeastern United States
- Enhancemnent of environmentally appropriate production and harvesting methods for woody biomass in Appalachia.
- Design of a system to incorporate previously developed Ground Penetrating Radar based defect detection equipment into the overall saw mill process layout for canted logs.
- Produce high strength composite organic fillers (MOE = 150 GPA), cellulose nanocrystals, from lignocellulose biomass (wood), as potential commercial substitutes for current commercial nanofillers, nanoclay
- Remove the recalcitrance (difficulty) of converting lignocellulose biomass to D-glucose and therefore greatly enhance its bioconversion to bioethanol and oil-derived chemical substitutes
- Improve the surface properties of engineered wood products to enhance performance such as weathering, swelling and shrinkage
- Develop rapid, non-contact methods for on/at-line determination of moisture contents of veneer and strands; rapid identification and sorting of wood by species, and determination of resin levels of medium density fibers
- Development of chemical and biochemical transformation pathways for production of value added chemicals from hemicellulose and lignin
Types of Activities:The areas addressed in this collaborative multistate initiative include research on forest harvesting, basic materials science, bioconversion processes, fermentative processes, new composite product development and research on traditional wood products issues. Through participation in this integrated multistate research effort, we hope to extend our capabilities allowing the participating University programs to contribute to an enhanced understanding of wood science and utilization.
A list of sample projects included in this work is provided below.
- Bioconversion Capabilities of Wood Decay Fungi
- Biofuels and High Value Products from Wood Hemicelluloses
- Logistical Considerations for Lignocellulosic Ethanol in New England and the Appalachian region
- Novel Processes to Prepare and Utilize Carbon Nanotubes and Nanofibers from Natural Lignocellulosic Materials
- Micro- and Nanocellulose Fiber Filled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Composites
- Process and Product Modifications to Improve Viability of Oriented Strand Composite Mills in the Northeast and Appalachian Regions
- Hybrid Structural Wood Composites Engineered from Underutilized Hardwood Species Combined with Reformulated Waste Materials
- New Processes and Products from Lignocellulose Biomass
- Design of a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Based Log Scanning Set Up for Improving the Quality of Wood Products from Saw Mills
- Development of an Automated Log to Lumber Tracking System for Hardwood Sawmills
- The overall goal is the enhanced utilization of wood and the development of sustainable and environmentally appropriate solutions to national energy problems.
Expected Outputs, Outcomes and/or Impacts:The advantages for doing the work as a multistate effort:
The advantages of conducting this research as a Multistate Hatch project is that the synergistic effects of the larger group of researchers, with sharing of knowledge within related projects, will allow greater productivity and efficiency than could be achieved at any one of the University programs alone. Funding will permit the exchange of researchers and students from each of the programs, and facilitate the attendance of meetings where researchers from all three Universities can share research results and discuss future research directions. In proposed collaborations, shared research facilities and collaborative research would result in substantial cost savings to the participating Universities. As one example, the University of Tennessee does not have appropriate facilities for the development of pilot scale wood plastic composites (WPCs), hybrid composite materials composed of wood particles and polymers, which have seen a very large market acceptance in recent years. The University of Maine has State of the Art pilot scale facilities for WPC production. University of Tennessee researchers will be able to develop their research ideas and see the fruition of their bench chemistry results translated into large-scale products through collaboration with the University of Maine. This is just one example of the synergies that will be developed through the support of a joint multistate project in this area.
What the likely impacts will be from successfully completing the work:
It is anticipated that completion of this multistate research project will bring together some of the best research minds and facilities for research on wood and biobased products in the eastern United States. As other programs from around the country join this multistate effort, this research can be expanded to include a broader nation-wide effort. The completed multistate research effort in this area will provide a comprehensive view of forest utilization in the east, ranging from an improved understanding of utilization of southern pine and bottomland hardwoods in the south, to broader applications for underutilized species in the spruce fir forests of the northeast.
The multistate effort will allow the three initiating programs to lead in selective areas and provide focus for future understanding of the field of biobased resource utilization. Even though each University program will focus on specific wood species and research projects, the basic understanding that will be developed in subfields ranging from wood processing for composites, to sustainable harvesting techniques, to biochemical and microbial processing will be transferable to the specific systems being researched at the three Universities. Sharing of the information through this proposed multistate Hatch project will foster streamlined relationships between the participating programs and it will provide the framework needed for collaborative research to be conducted by all three programs.
List of Participants:Include a completed Appendix E.
Literature Cited:Bush, G. 2007. State of the Union Address. www.whitehouse.gov, January 23, 2007
Associated Press (AP). Oil prices raising costs of offshoots. http://www.tdn.com/articles/2004/07/02/biz/news03.prt
Aberdeen, B. Price of corn soars. http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2004/02/17/news/state/state03.txt
Tomson, B. For Ethanol, U.S. May Boost Corn Acreage. Wall Street Journal. New York, N.Y., Feb 8, 2007. pg. C.11
Galbe, M., Zacchi, G. A review of the production of ethanol from softwood. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. (2002) 59:618¨C628.
Moon, R. J., C. R. Frihart, and T. Wegner. 2006. Nanotechnology applications in the forest products industry. Forest Products Journal. 56(5):4-10.
The Advanced Engineered Wood Composites (AEWC) Center, University of Maine. http://www.aewc.umaine.edu
Division of Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia Univeristy. http://www.wdsc.caf.wvu.edu/WVUWUR/index.html
The Forest Products Center, University of Tennessee. http://web.utk.edu/~tfpc/
s:/Edward N. Ashworth
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