University of Idaho professors transform dead trees into biofuel

University of Idaho professors transform dead trees into biofuel

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by TAYLOR VIYDO & KREM.com

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 8:33 AM

MOSCOW, Idaho.--A group of professors at the University of Idaho is studying how to get an alternative fuel from dead trees.

The trees killed by bark beetles are not viable and are a wildfire hazard. Some scientists are looking to change that.

The science professors are looking at practical ways to get fuel like gasoline from the dead trees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $10 million grant to colleges in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and course the University of Idaho.

Researchers burn wood at high temperatures without using oxygen to get the biofuel. That creates charcoal and a so-called bio oil that can potentially be used as fuel.

There are about 42 million acres of bark beetle killed trees in the interior West. Most of them present a fire hazard.

"And the exciting thing about this project is we're going to take what's basically a waste material and turn it into a useful resource,” said University of Idaho professor Jay O’Laughlin.

The project is set to take five years and is still in its early stages. The project is labeled as carbon negative meaning that it will hopefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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