While politicians promote corn, sugar beets and other annual crops, Weyerhaeuser and Chevron have announced an alliance to "assess the feasibility of commercializing the production of biofuels from cellulose-based sources". Kudos to Weyerhaeuser, Chevron and capitalism!
"The two companies said the partnership reflects their shared view that cellulosic biofuels will fill an important role in diversifying the nation's energy sources by providing a source of low-carbon transportation fuel. The venture leverages the strengths of both companies, combining Chevron's technology capabilities in molecular conversion, product engineering, advanced fuel manufacturing and fuels distribution with Weyerhaeuser's expertise in collection and transformation of cellulosics into engineered materials, innovative land stewardship, crop management, biomass conversion and capacity to deliver sustainable cellulose-based fiber at scale." The entire news release is well worth reading.
On April 4th, Roger Sedjo with Resources for the Future, moderated a session on Biomass Energy: Biorefineries. All of the presentations are available at the previous link but I found the presentation by Theodore H. Wegner, Assistant Director, Forest Products Laboratory to be particularly informative. It is an outstanding look at the current situation while clearly laying out the hurdles that must be overcome to begin using wood to replace oil. --Brian