The first picture that will come to mind when someone says “logging” is trucks loaded with logs, prepared for transport to a sawmill. However, the rest of the tree: the branches and tops that cannot be cut into boards or made into plywood – Goes to waste.
These secondary materials, known as “residues” within the forest trade, represent each a problem to foresters and a possible boon to the industry. Though they’re routinely left behind at harvest websites due to the excessive price of processing and transport, new prospects are being developed to make use of residues instead supply of energy production. They can be transformed into electricity or utilized as a heat source in pellet stoves.
To raised perceive the challenges and potential gains of harvesting residues, Associate Professor Chad Bolding of Virginia Tech’s – College of Natural Resources and Environment will take part in a large-scale collaborative problem with three different universities to look at forest residue assortment throughout the eastern United States and decide how to make residues an economically viable resource.
Funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Virginia Tech will work collaboratively with Auburn University, the University of Maine, and West Virginia University to develop and optimize forest residue assortment whereas inspecting the environmental impacts and economic potentials for the eastern U.S.
“This venture aims to find out the procedures used and the profitability of residue assortment within the eastern United States,” Bolding defined, “and to see if we can optimize the system by lowering prices and making residues an extra viable choice as a renewable energy source.”
To know the particular challenges, the collaborators have divided the eastern U.S. into four areas: northeast, upper mid-Atlantic, lower mid-Atlantic, and southeast. Virginia Tech will give attention to the lower mid-Atlantic states: Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.