From hurricane winds and flooding, to radicals piloting passenger jets into skyscrapers, disasters are a tragic part of life. After people are safely removed from harm's way, proper planning and technology could be used to revolutionize debris management.
Furfural, a sister chemical to the increasingly popular hydroxymethylfurfural or HMF molecule, is regaining attention as a biobased alternative for the
production of everything from antacids and fertilizers to plastics and paints.
Sustainability is a buzzword in the biomass industry. But sustainable can mean many things. You can do your best by Mother Earth, but if you don't make money, your operation isn't sustainable. You can have the ability to make money hand-over-fist, but if you can't get the biomass to your plant, that's not sustainable either. A collaboration of researchers studied a biomass operation in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota to look at all the different components of a sustainable biomass harvesting operation.
From animal manure to crop residue, all options are being explored to reduce global dependency on fossil fuels. In response to this quest, one Costa Rican scientist poses a novel question: What about the ocean? Seaweed is primarily grown in the Eastern Hemisphere to produce fertilizer and food, but what potential do these plants and our oceans hold for biomass applications?
The Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D., hosted the Biomass '08 Technical Workshop in July. Hundreds gathered from the United States and six countries to learn about the latest developments in the production of fuels, power and chemicals from biomass. The main message that came out of the conference was the need for strong partnerships and many different fuels.