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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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Economics, Statistics and Life Cycle Analysis Research

Project Title :  Knowledge is needed on the economic viability of new technologies for converting wood and fiber into new or improved paper and paper products
Project Number : FPL-4851-6A
Status : TERMINATED
Start Date : 07-23-2007
End Date : 07-23-2012


View the 17 publications associated with this project.

Principal Investigator:
Kenneth E. Skog

Non Technical Summary
PhotoThe objective of this problem area is to provide knowledge on the economic viability of new technologies for converting wood and fiber into new or improved paper and wood products. Forest Products Laboratory researchers and other researchers develop new technologies for converting timber into new or improved wood products that may extend timber supplies, reduce processing costs, and provide consumers with better products.


Objectives Summary
The objective of this problem area is to provide knowledge on the economic viability of new technologies for converting wood and fiber into new or improved paper and wood products. Forest Products Laboratory researchers and other researchers develop new technologies for converting timber into new or improved wood products that may extend timber supplies, reduce processing costs, and provide consumers with better products. The technologies can contribute to the conservation and productivity of the forest resource. A problem is that the wood products industry will not make use of a new technology without an adequate assessment of the technology describing its commercial viability. Analysis is needed to assess the prospects for adoption of new technologies. Such analysis includes economic feasibility and identification of pathways for adoption. Components may include assessing needs for communities seeking business development and analysis of competitive products. Related research may require the economic analysis of existing technologies. Wildland fires threaten human safety and ecosystem integration on some 73 million acres of national forests. Treatments to reduce fire risk in some forest areas will produce wood fiber that will have to be removed from the sites. While there will be an obvious cost of this material, there may also be a value, depending on what the wood fiber is used for. Determining such values requires economic feasibility analysis. Such analysis may also highlight areas where further research and technological improvements could provide benefits far exceeding the cost.


Approach Summary
The approach to providing knowledge on economic viability of new technologies is first to develop economic feasibility evaluation tools, such as discounted cash flow models and second, working with scientists who are developing new innovations and others (e.g., engineering consulting firms) to determine capital and operating costs needed to make economic feasibility evaluations. Development of cost information may require collaboration with scientists to develop engineering cost models which indicate how changes in operating parameters will affect costs. Accomplishments planned for the next 5 years include the following: 1.Evaluate the economic viability of alternate business cases for a. Biorefinery/bioenergy plants b. Production and use of products based on nanotechnology c. Advanced composites d. Advanced housing features 2. Analyze the economic viability of other new solid wood products technologies developed by the Forest Products Laboratory. 3. Analyze the economic viability of new pulp & paper and composite products technologies developed by the Forest Products Laboratory. 4. Evaluate market prospects and material needs for alternative products that would use small-diameter timber in the West. 5. Evaluate effectiveness of Forest Service Biomass Utilization grants 6. Work with the National Forest System, state organizations, industry, and others to transfer knowledge resulting from the above research to aid in informed decisions relating to the adoption of appropriate technologies to sustain the Nation's forests, grasslands, and watersheds.

Publications associated with this Project

Publication YearTitleDate Posted
2010A synthesis of the science on forests and carbon for U.S. Forests05/11/10
2008Adding biofuel/bioproduct capacity to existing U.S. mills Part 1: Options02/09/10
2008Adding biofuel/bioproduct capacity to existing U.S. mills Part 2: The Business Case Agenda 2020 analysis explores financial issues02/09/10
2009ChargeOut! Discounted Cash Flow Compared with Traditional Machine-Rate Analysis10/15/10
2010Cradle-To-Gate Life-Cycle Inventory Of Us Wood Products Production: Corrim Phase I And Phase Ii Products01/10/11
2009CVal: A Spreadsheet Tool to Evaluate the Direct Benefits and Costs of Carbon Sequestration Contracts for Managed Forests.10/15/10
2010Development of a biorefinery optimized biofuel supply curve for the Western United States01/10/11
2011Economics of Coharvesting Smallwood by Chainsaw and Skidder for Crop Tree Management in Missouri09/12/12
2009Evaluating Physical Property Changes for Small-Diameter, Plantation-Grown Southern Pine after In Situ Polymerization of an Acrylic Monomer05/17/10
2011Evaluation of a Value Prior to Pulping-thermomechanical pulp business concept: Part 207/12/11
2009Financial feasibility of a log sort yard handling small-diameter logs10/06/10
2010Government policies increasingly promote renewable energy sources: Wood energy markets in the UNECE region, 2009-201005/16/11
2010Greenhouse gas and carbon profile of the U.S. forest products industry value chain05/17/10
2010Heat sterilization of ash (Fraxinus spp.) firewood: Heat-treating options, temperature monitoring and thermal verification05/16/11
2009Machine Cost Analysis Using the Traditional Machine-Rate Method and ChargeOut!10/11/10
2011Modeling Integrated Biomass Gasification Business Concepts07/29/11
2010Uses and Desirable Properties of Wood in the 21st Century01/10/11

Project Summaries last modified: 06-21-2011