Search research reports:
Wood Utilization Research on US Biofuels, Bioproducts, Hybrid Biomaterials Composites Production, and Traditional Forest Products
Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering
The overall goal is the enhanced utilization of wood and the development of sustainable and environmentally appropriate solutions to national energy problems. 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.
2009 Project Description
Activities: Developed and taught two courses: Fundamentals of Biorenewable Resources, and Biofuels. Both courses contain information of the utilization of wood for biofuels, and bioproducts. The courses are offered at the Senior/Graduate Student level.
Dissemination: Videos: The courses are both a series of videos. Each lecture consists of approximatley 3, 15 minute videos that the students can access on-line.
Events: Conference call January 15, 2010 in lieu of face-to-face project meeting.
Approximately thirty students have taken the courses developed and have the potential to enter the biofuels workforce with an expanded knowledge of wood utilization for biofuels and bioproducts.