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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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How does it apply?

National Concern

fpl As national concerns about our forests and international concerns over global warming and greenhouse-gas generation rise, governmental support for biological fuels is likely to increase. For example, the 2008 Farm Bill provides loan guarantees for the development, construction, and retrofitting of commercial-scale biorefineries and grants to help pay for the development and construction costs of demonstration-scale biorefineries; it provides $75 million in FY 2009 and $245 million in FY 2010 for commercial-scale biorefinery loan guarantees and authorizes funding of $150 million per year starting in FY 2009 and continuing through FY 2012 for both demonstration- and commercial-scale biorefineries. Also, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $4.1 million in grants to help small businesses and community groups find more innovative uses of woody biomass from national forests. The grants, which are being administered by FPL, help create markets for new products and renewable energy from forest biomass.

fpl Building on a long history of handling and treating wood and our ability to develop strong multidisciplinary teams, FPL experts in wood structure, wood chemistry, microbiology, enzyme technology, chemical engineering, and economics are working together toward processes that promote the use of sustainable, bio-based, environmentally neutral technologies to meet global demands for building and materials end uses, chemicals, and energy. With such ongoing capabilities and the addition of highly developed microbiology and chemistry laboratories in our new Centennial Research Facility, FPL can continue to be a leader in developing profitable biorefineries.

We need to further research using lignocellulose (materials such as flakes, particles, and fiber) as a raw material for transportation fuel and chemicals.

The FPL is poised to help the Nation in several developments:

  • Pretreatments that make more cellulose available for enzymatic saccharification or to derive value from lignin
  • Value from resistant (recalcitrant) cellulose
  • Co-production of specialty chemicals with greater value than ethanol and paper pulp
  • Improved gasification with less char and a higher energy yield
  • Transportation fuels and higher value chemicals from producer gas
  • Ways to integrate ethanol production with pulping and composite products
  • Enzyme modeling, life cycle assessment, and biomass case development
  • Greenhouse gas modeling

In conclusion, FPL's work in biorefining will:

  • Promote sustainable development
  • Move toward energy independence
  • Mitigate climate change
  • Support local economies, and
  • Promote sustainability of natural resource production and use.