The International Biomass Conference is fast approaching, and the excitement is building. Last year, biomass enthusiasts from more than 34 countries met in Minneapolis to take the temperature of the Biomass Industry. This year the industry is heating up as we prepare to reconvene in Charlotte to share updates, innovation and all things biomass.Read More
Heyl & Patterson Blog
The European Union plans to turn heavily towards using renewable energy in order to reduce emissions by 80 percent before 2050. They are focused on reaching this goal, not just through the use of solar and wind but also wood pellets. In numerous European countries, the use of wood pellets to produce electricity is becoming more commonplace. Pellets are a by-product made from the sawdust, bark, chips and other pieces of scrap wood that are generated by the processing of trees into lumber. The pieces are milled, dried and pressed into a pellet shape, and the lignin in the wood plasticizes to form a natural glue that allows a pellet to remain in one piece.Read More
The daily news reverberates with discussions about the adverse global impact humans have on the environment. Scientists study how we can lessen it, by reducing our individual carbon footprints and making the overall move to green energy sources. Finding a clean, efficient and relatively inexpensive replacement for the world's ubiquitous use of coal in fossil fuel power plants is a massive part of that discussion. Some companies are considering the replacement of coal with a form of processed biomass material known as torrefied wood, and there needs to be an understanding of its storage characteristics.Read More
Scientists call the pervasive overgrowth of red algae, like pseudo-nitzschia, a “bloom." Known by the ominous name of "red tides," blooms produce a toxin known as domoic acid that is harmful to animals and humans, threatens marine ecosystems and wreaks havoc with the fishing industry in affected areas. During the summer of 2015, the largest red algae bloom on record grew in the warm waters off the coast of California. This algal bloom, unusually dense and more poisonous than others, now stretches north to Alaska and promises severe repercussions for the Pacific Coast fishing industry. The state of Washington recently closed public and commercial fishing of its popular Dungeness crab due to the toxic levels found in the marine life.Read More
The United States produces 220 million tons of municipal solid waste a year. That means there is enough to fill a line of dump trucks all the way to the moon. Unfortunately, that waste does not end up in space (at least not yet). Approximately 120 million tons ends up in a landfill each year, where it sits completely useless, releasing greenhouse gases into the air and polluting the ground. However, there is an alternative. Various technologies, including thermal and non-thermal methods, can recover energy from dried and processed municipal waste.Read More
Biomass co-firing is the burning of fossil fuels in coal-fired power plants in conjunction with forestry and agriculture residues, animal manure, wood wastes, such as sawdust or bark from the timber industry, waste wood and dedicated energy crops. Co-firing increases the amount of renewable biomass in the global energy mix and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The technologies include biomass that is jointly milled with coal and fed into the same boiler, biomass that is converted into a fuel gas and then burned with coal in the same boiler, and biomass in a separate boiler that supplies steam to a coal cycle.Read More
Even in today's "paperless" world, there continues to be a huge demand for paper. Paper is made from wood pulp, which is also used to manufacture a wide variety of products from diapers to particle board to textiles. The pulp itself is the cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose components of wood fibers, which are separated from one another through steaming, cooking or mechanical grinding processes. Most pulp is made from a mixture of sawmill residue, logs, wood chips and recycled paper, and it is interesting to note that practically all of the fibers that end up as pulp originally existed as trees.
The Heyl & Patterson Blog, or simply the H&P Blog as it is known on social media, has been posting articles regularly since 2010. At Heyl & Patterson, our goal is to educate and inform you about the latest developments in your industries. This forum has covered topics as varied as the industries we serve, from explaining the inner workings of conduction dryers to examining how a railway across Colombia could compete with the Panama Canal. As the author of this blog, I've never broken the fourth wall, but I'd like to thank all of our subscribers for following us, and if you haven't yet read the Heyl & Patterson Blog, this is a good time to start.
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The search is on for alternative sources of fuel. Social and political instability in the vicinity of major oil producing regions has led to rising prices, which hampers a slow economic recovery as consumers are forced to spend more of their limited incomes on gasoline. Major spills in waterways and in the Gulf of Mexico provide dramatic reminders of the risks inherent in oil exploration and production, and their effect on the environment.
In the early 1980s, the domestic steel crisis left about widespread unemployment across the Iron Range area of Minnesota, and even the state's logging, pulp and paper industries faced global competition. To counteract these threats and avoid similar issues in the future, a group of researchers, legislators and community members developed the Natural Resources Research Institute (NNRI) within the University of Minnesota Duluth to study the economic impact and sustainability of Minnesota’s minerals, forest products, peat, biomass and water-related industries.