US marks National Forest Products Week, National Bioenergy Day

By Erin Voegele | October 20, 2021

President Joe Biden and the U.S. Department of Energy are marking National Forests Products Week and National Bioenergy Day by celebrating the contributions the forest industry makes to the economy and highlighting research that is helping expand the nation’s bioenergy sector.

Biden on Oct. 15 issued a proclamation launching National Forest Products Week 2021. The proclamation stresses that U.S. forests are vital to our nation, our people and our economy. “During National Forest Products Week, we celebrate the wealth of products and benefits our forests provide, and we recommit ourselves to wisely and sustainably stewarding them to meet our Nation's needs today and long into the future,” he said in the proclamation.

Biden also discussed how climate change is threating U.S. forests through the increased severity and frequency of wildfires, droughts, floods and extreme temperatures, and the need to confront the climate crisis and associated challenges facing U.S. forests.

“Our forests and the many ecosystem services and wood products they provide are key elements in securing an environmentally sustainable economy,” he added. “My Administration will continue to advance community-driven conservation and restoration initiatives that will create good jobs—especially in low-income and rural communities—and generate economic growth. My Administration is also supporting business opportunities that advance forest conservation and create jobs by expanding markets for innovative forest products through Federal programs such as the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Wood Innovations and Community Wood grant programs. We are proposing investments in sustainable and innovative uses for wood waste materials to produce advanced biofuels, biochar, heat, and power—including through sustainable aviation fuels and other sustainable biofuels. These programs have the potential to support increased connections between the health of our forests, economic opportunity, and the production of valuable renewable energy.”

The DOE’s Biotechnologies Office released several articles authored by the agency staff in celebration of National Bioenergy Day, which is celebrated on Oct. 20.  

Asanga Padmaperum, a senior research chemist in the Energy Processes and Materials Division at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, profiled five PNNL bioenergy researchers in an article released Oct. 19. He called those researchers “bioenergy superheroes who are making a difference in brining biofuels to our nation’s transportation system.” Padmaperuma also authored an article discussing PNNL research related to hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology that can be used to convert wastewater solids into biofuels. 

Jim Spaeth, program manager, systems development and integration in DOE’s BTEO, discussed the potential for ethanol-to-sustainable aviation fuel, while Lynn Wendt, laboratory relationship manager for Idaho National Laboratory, wrote about efforts to improve the flowability of loblolly pine and other biomass feedstocks. In addition, Katy Christiansen, laboratory relationship manager for BETO programs at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, authored a piece on newly developed software tools that are speeding the development of biobased jet fuels.