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Phone: (608) 231-9200
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FPL in the News - Recent

Publication year: 2022

The $50 billion plan to fight wildfires could be a surprise boon to the building industry -
Fast Company


This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service announced a $50 billion plan to fight wildfires. By deploying prescribed burns and thinning more than 20 million acres of federal forests over the next decade, they hope to literally cut down the amount of combustible material that has fueled the largest wildfires in recorded history ...  view»

Publication year: 2015

These New Computer Chips Are Made From Wood -
Smithsonian Magazine


Our global obsession with ephemeral consumer electronics is fast resulting in a massive global garbage problem. As many as 50 million metric tons of our old smartphones, PCs, TVs and other devices were discarded last year in favor of the next new thing. But researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory have developed a surprising way to make tossing out future smartphones and tablets easier on the environment and the conscience. They’re replacing the bulk of toxic and non-biodegradable materials in modern microprocessors with wood ...  view»

UW Researchers Design Wood-Based Computer Chip -
Channel 3000


A University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering research and development team thinks a computer chip made mostly of wood could be the answer to potentially toxic, non-biodegradable electronics filling up landfills. The UW team said their chip, designed in part with the federal Forest Products Laboratory, eliminates nearly all of what's harmful, such as a silicone coding, and replaces most of it with an ultra-thin form of a paper support layer ...  view»

Now that's a wood chip! Circuits made with tree fibres could lead to super flexible, biodegradable phones -
Daily Mail


A collaboration between the University of Wisconson-Madison and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) has led to a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood that could lead to more eco-friendly gadgets. The breakthrough came by breaking down plant material to create a thin paper that can be used in electronics. And the chip has a similar performance to existing silicon chips, suggesting it could be a sustainable replacement for some modern electronics ...  view»

Wooden semiconductors could help to recycle electronic products -
New Electronics


In an effort said to be aimed at alleviating the environmental burden posed by electronic devices, a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has worked with the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood ...  view»

A new kind of wood chip: collaboration could lead to biodegradable computer chips -
University of Wisconsin


Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget. In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood ...  view»

Biodegradable computer chips created by UW, Forest Lab researchers -
Host Madison


Wood chips normally don't make you think of electronic devices, but a type of wood chip being developed in Madison could give some relief from toxins in landfills. A biodegradable semi-conductor computer chip made almost entirely from wood has been developed by UW-Madison researchers, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in ...  view»

May The Forest Be With You: Using Whole Trees In Building Construction -
Forbes Magazine


If there was ever a way to combine high tech and high touch as John Naisbitt stated in High Tech, High Touch, his 1999 follow-up to his 1982 bestseller Megatrends, "embracing technology that preserves our humanness”, WholeTrees Architecture & Structures of Madison, Wisconsin epitomizes it. WholeTrees is an innovative company that has hit it out of the park in terms of innovating on technology ...  view»

Cellulose nanocrystals found to boost strength of concrete -
Pulp & Paper Canada


Cellulose nanocrystals derived from agriculture, pulp or paper industries have been shown to increase the strength of concrete, representing a potential renewable additive to improve this construction material. Researchers at Purdue University have demonstrated that the cellulose nanocrystals can increase the tensile strength of concrete by 30%. "This is an abundant, renewable material that can be harvested from low-quality cellulose feedstocks already being " ...  view»

Publication year: 2014

Turning Whole Trees into High-Value Building Materials - Sourceable

Engineered wood products such as cross-laminated timber have been getting a lot of attention lately. Architect Michael Green’s Wood Innovation Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, British Columbia, is a six-storey building made entirely of engineered wood. Green has proposed wooden buildings up to 30 storeys.

In contrast to Green, architect Roald Gundersen takes a different approach to building with wood. Rather than chipping trees and re-forming the pieces with adhesive, Gundersen’s company, Whole Trees Architecture and Structures, has developed methods for using whole peeled logs for columns and trusses. Using government grants and private investment, Gundersen’s team has performed research at the US Forest Products Laboratory to test ...  view»

Herty launches Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions - Biomass Magazine

The Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center in Savannah, Georgia, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, and the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, announced the launch of the Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions. The consortium’s goal is to spearhead development of commercially-viable, advanced wood-to-energy products that can be produced from low-value trees and forest residues that can compromise forest health and increase the frequency of wildfires ...  view»

Start-up Whole Trees LLC creates strength in lumber - Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Madison-based Whole Trees LLC harvests trees that are too small for stripping and sawing into lumber. The company then peels the bark, treats the logs to prevent fire and insect damage, paints them and takes other steps to convert the timber into beams and columns.  That process creates building materials that are much stronger than conventional lumber, and match the strength of steel beams and columns, said Baxter, president of Whole Trees.  The columns and beams also can provide a woodsy aesthetic touch if used in ways that expose them to public view, she said. That's an added value for some businesses that want to showcase a commitment to sustainable construction practices ... view»

Device mimics trees to split water with solar energy - Bangalore Mirror

Through an energy conversion process that mimics that of a tree, a University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientist is making strides in renewable energy tech for making hydrogen. Xudong Wang, an assistant professor at the university, recently collaborated with researcher, Zhiyong Cai, in the US Forest Products Laboratory in Madison on research to use cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) for water splitting, a process that converts solar energy to hydrogen fuel ... view»

Estimated 56 Million Acres Of National Forests Are Critically Under-Managed - Digital Journal

MADISON, Wis.--(Business Wire) --An estimated 56 million acres of national forests are critically under-managed according to the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. Without management of natural waste such as fallen timbers too small to be milled, forests risk insect and disease infestation and high concentrations of fuel buildup or fire. Current international economic conditions deter such management due to low market values for small trees ... view»

Forest Products Society to Celebrate Award Winners at Convention - Wood Working Network

QUEBEC CITY, QC - Leaders and innovators in the forestry industry will be celebrated during the 2014 Forest Products Society Annual Excellence Awards at the FPS 68th International Convention, Aug. 10-13, in Quebec City. - Samuel Zelinka, a materials research engineer with USDA FS Forest Products Laboratory, won the Wood Engineering Achievement Award. Zelinka developed electrochemical based tools to quickly assess the corrosion potential of actual fasteners in preservative treated wood. His findings led to application of percolation theory to develop a new model for electrical conduction in wood as a function of moisture content that helps explain why corrosion and mold growth occur below fiber saturation ... view»

A tree may have the answers to renewable energy -

Through an energy conversion process that mimics that of a tree, a University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientist is making strides in renewable energy technologies for producing hydrogen. Xudong Wang, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison, recently collaborated with researcher, Dr. Zhiyong Cai, in the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison on research to use cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) for water splitting, a process that converts solar energy to hydrogen fuel ... view»

Nano From The Forests - Chemical & Engineering News

Tucked inside the fibrous cellulose matrices that provide mechanical strength to wood and plants are nanostructured cellulose materials that are jockeying for scientists’ attention. Collectively referred to as nanocellulose, these naturally occurring substances—nanocrystals and nanofibrils—are highly abundant. These materials are being touted for their ability to take various forms, such as gels and films, and for the breadth of their potential applications, including electronics and tissue engineering ... view»

On Wisconsin: Wooden bullet helps researchers make affordable shelters - Wisconsin State Journal

Bob Falk is frugal and a realist. The research engineer at Forest Products Laboratory in Madison could have used expensive lumber, pricey nails and high-grade plywood in his tests to create an almost impenetrable tornado shelter made of wood. But that would have missed the point ... view»

Testing being done in Wisconsin to create tornado 'safe room' - WISN 12 News

Testing is being done in Wisconsin that could one day help reduce the number of fatalities from tornadoes. Wisconsin gets about 23 tornadoes a year, which like most states, sees the fatalities from them usually caused by flying debris. "We actually get a fair number of tornadoes, and we're considered high risk," U.S. Forest Products Laboratory engineer Bob Falk said ... view»

Forest Products Lab Wood ID Guru to Speak at Symposium - Hardwood Floors Magazine

Hey wood ID wonks, think you could eyeball different species from the same genus? The Taj Mahal of wood species anatomy laboratories is sending one of its researchers - The Guy to talk to about speciation-to the National Wood Flooring Association Certified Professionals Inspector Symposium, which this year will be held the day before the trade show starts, on April 16.

Dr. Alex Wiedenhoeft is a research botanist in the Center for Wood Anatomy Research at the federal Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. His two seminars are ... view»

Oil spill cleanup by sponge: Madison scientists tout tidy technology - Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

In a development arising from nanotechnology research, scientists in Madison have created a spongelike material that could provide a novel and sustainable way to clean up oil spills.

It's known as an aerogel, but it could just as well be called a "smart sponge."

To demonstrate how it works, researchers add a small amount of red dye to diesel, making the fuel stand out in a glass of water. The aerogel is dipped in the glass and within minutes, the sponge has soaked up the diesel. The aerogel is now red, and the glass of water is clear ... view»

Wood Pellet Stoves Helps Some Stave Off Rising Heating Costs - Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Steve Schutz of New Berlin knows how frustrated people can get when their heating bills soar and they have only one choice of heating fuel, such as propane, which has tripled in price in recent weeks.

Schutz, owner of Sunnyslope Gardens Inc., lowered his heating bill between $2,000 and $3,000 a year by installing wood pellet stoves in his greenhouses and home nine years ago ... view»

Wisconsin Lab is at Nexus of Innovation for U.S. Forest Service - Xconomy

It takes an unusual person to get excited about the latest advances in such common building materials as medium-density fiberboard. Yet Michael Rains' runaway enthusiasm comes tumbling through-even on a long-distance phone call from his office, where Rains does double duty as director of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station in Newton, PA (responsible for field research in 20 states from Maine to Missouri), and the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, WI ... view»

Publication year: 2013

Cellulose nanocrystals possible "green" wonder material - R&D

The same tiny cellulose crystals that give trees and plants their high strength, light weight and resilience, have now been shown to have the stiffness of steel. The nanocrystals might be used to create a new class of biomaterials with wide-ranging applications, such as strengthening construction materials and automotive components ... view»

How Major League Baseball Alleviated Its Broken Bat Problem - National Public Radio

Back in 2008, Major League Baseball had a problem with broken bats. That season, bats were breaking into multiple pieces at a higher rate than ever before: around once per game.

A bat that simply cracks isn't too big a deal. But in 2008, maple bats kept breaking apart. Often, they'd break along the handle, sending the heavier upper barrel of the bat flying. Bat shards struck players and coaches all season. A fan named Susan Rhodes was struck by a bat during a Los Angeles Dodgers game in April. Near the end of June, Brian O'Nora, a home plate umpire, was sent to the hospital after a bat left a gash on the back of his head. view»

Doug Moe: The scientist and the ladder - Wisconsin State Journal

The star witness in the most celebrated trial of the 20th century first learned of the crime while reading the Wisconsin State Journal in his home on Adams Street. It was March 2, 1932.

The night before, the infant son of world famous aviator Charles Lindbergh had been kidnapped from the family home in New Jersey. The headline in the Madison paper read: "Lindbergh Ready to Pay $50,000 Ransom Demanded for Return of Kidnapped Baby ..." view»

Science Lowers Shattering Risk at Home Plate - New York Times

Welington Castillo smashed a double for the Chicago Cubs late in a game in the 2010 season, his bat exploding on impact with the ball. A long shard of wood flew at a teammate, Tyler Colvin, sprinting home from third base, impaling him a few inches from his heart. Though Colvin scored, his season was over ... view»

Research by US Forest Service helps decrease amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball - Federal News Radio (Federal Drive Show Blog)

It's the second day of the Major League Baseball All-Star break. But you won't see as many broken bats as in years past. David Kretschmann, a research engineer at the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory, has been studying why bats shatter as part of a consulting agreement with MLB. His work has led to a 50 percent reduction in the number of broken bats over the past five years ... view»

Research by US Forest Service helps decrease amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball - Fox News

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says research by the Forest Service has helped reduce the amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball. Vilsack lauded the work of the Forest Service in a press release on Friday. He says it "will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation." ... view»

Unshattered record: pro baseball bats now break 50 percent less, USDA says - Reuters

(Reuters) - Shattered baseball bats pose real danger when shards of wood go flying, but this happens half as often as it did just five years ago after the U.S. Forest Service joined Major League Baseball to figure out how to make bats more shatter-resistant ... view»

USDA Works to Bench Baseball's Unsplendid Splinters - National Journal

Final passage of a farm bill may be up in the air. But with Major League Baseball set to hold its All-Star game Tuesday, the U.S. Agriculture Department wants a little fan love for solving a big problem: the broken baseball bat epidemic. The more-scientific name is "multiple-piece failure," which the USDA says can pose a danger on the field and in the stands at baseball games. On Friday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the results of what is described as innovative research by the U.S. Forest Service, funded by MLB, to cut down on the dangers from splintering bats ... view»

MLB and Forest Service Team Up to Reduce Frequency of Shattered Bats - Enviromental News Network

According to Louisville Slugger, one of the nation's oldest and most well known producer of wood baseball bats, it takes nearly 40,000 trees to produce one season's worth of baseball bats and the company alone produces 1.6 million wood bats each year ... view»

'Now batting, Doug Fir...' Forest Service says its research reduced hazard of shattered baseball bats - The Oregonian

The U.S. Forest Service - which knows a thing or two about swinging the lumber -- says its researchers have reduced the number of shattered baseball bats by revising manufacturing standards. Working with Major League Baseball, which still uses wooden bats, researchers with the agency's Forest Products Laboratory recommended changes that have reportedly decreased the rate of shattered maple bats by more than 50 percent since 2008 ... view»

Forest Service helps reduce shattered bats in MLB - My ESPN

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says research by the Forest Service has helped reduce the amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball. Vilsack lauded the work of the Forest Service in a press release on Friday. He says it "will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation." ... view»

Forest Service helps reduce shattered bats in MLB - The Wall Sreet Journal

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says research by the Forest Service has helped reduce the amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball. Vilsack lauded the work of the Forest Service in a press release on Friday. He says it "will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation" ... view»

Forest Service helps reduce shattered bats in MLB - Sports Illustrated CNN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says research by the Forest Service has helped reduce the amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball. Vilsack lauded the work of the Forest Service in a press release on Friday. He says it "will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation.' ... view»

San Diego's Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation Forms Noble Environmental Europe AG Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland - Market Watch

Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation (NET), opened its first international subsidiary, Noble Environmental Europe AG (NEEU) on March 11, 2013. NEEU is the exclusive licensee for ECOR® technologies and products throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. The company, in partnership with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, developed key intellectual property to begin commercialization of ECOR® brand products ... view»

Reimagining the row house: The Baltimore Carbon Challenge winners - Mother Nature Network

In Baltimore, the U.S. Forest Service co-hosts a home design contest that highlights the versatile, CO2-trapping wonders of wood building products while also contributing to an on-the-mend neighborhood's recovery ... view»

63rd annual 'Paper Days' set for April 3-4 at University of Maine - The St. John Valley Times

Exclusively Online: Orono, Maine - A ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the nation's first cellulose nanofiber pilot plant and a keynote address by U.S. Sen. Angus King will highlight the 63rd annual "Paper Days" at the University of Maine, April 3-4.

The pilot plant manufactures cellulose nanofibers (CNF), a wood-based reinforcing material that is increasingly of interest to researchers worldwide in the development of high-value materials. Last year, UMaine and the Forest Products Laboratory began a research collaboration on the conversion of wood components into novel nanomaterials; the incorporation of an array of nanomaterials into forest products to increase their functionality, durability and end-use performance; and development of new generations of high-performance wood-based materials ... view»

NEW: RI Architects Honored In National Design Competition - GoLocalProv

Two Rhode Island architects and another local firm were among the winners announced yesterday in the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition, a nationwide competion. The U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Lab (FPL) and APA-The Engineered Wood Association honored 6 firms total for designs of an affordable house while considering strategies that reduce fossil fuel use and the structure's carbon footprint ... view»

By-Product Becomes Product: An Alternative to MDF Board - The Huffington Post

Artists are working in the decade of Fab or fabrication. With the help of Computer-Aided Design we are producing wood furniture, art and decor at a rapid rate. In order for cost and supply to keep up with the demand artists often use cheap and accessible materials such plywood, particleboard and Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). Examples of such constructed products would be IKEA furniture or cut out designer decor. What these products don't tell you are the makeup of MDF board is toxic. A resin made with a Formaldehyde base seals up the wood product to make large even sheets. Although these sheets seem ideal for artists who are looking for a cheap base and product that is malleable, it can also emit toxic gases ... view»

100-percent sustainable studio set for the Fox comedy show "Raising Hope" - Federal News Radio News Stream

Think "forest service" and you probably think trees and fern-lined sylvan canyons. But the agency is dabbling in the glitzy world of Hollywood. Its Forest Products Laboratory has helped build the first 100-percent sustainable studio set for the Fox comedy show "Raising Hope." That's thanks to a recently expanded federal program ... view»

IBS Vegas: APA Carbon Challenge - US Building Digest

USBD kicks off coverage of the 2013 National Association of Home Builders' International Builders' Show with an interview with Robert Clark of the APA- the Engineered Wood Association. APA has teamed up with USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory to launch the Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition, which challenges designers to create a new home design while considering the impact that building materials have on the environment ... view »

Forest Products Laboratory and a Sustainable Studio Set - A New Century of Forest Planning (Wordpress Blog)

Forest Service research led to the creation of Hollywood's first 100 percent sustainable studio set ... view »

U.S. Forest Service helps Hollywood build 'green' movie set for 'Raising Hope' - The Examiner

"The collaboration between the Forest Products Laboratory and ECOR Global is a perfect example of how government and industry can work together to meet society's needs," says laboratory engineer John Hunt. "By combining our unique capabilities, we were able to turn research results into tangible products" ... view »

Applied Science: "By-product Becomes Product" at Intersection for the Arts - 7x7SF

Stop for a second, and think about the number of toxins you touch, breathe, even taste in one day. Then think about what that means for those whose jobs bring them in constant, enduring contact of those materials for a living. Intersection of the Art's latest cross-disciplinary project "By-product Becomes Product" examines the role and effect of hazardous materials specifically in the artist's studio ... view »

San Diego's leader of cellulose revolution - The San Diego Union-Tribune

"To me, there have to be thousands of 'aha!' moments to build something this transformative," says Robert Noble, former CEO of Tucker Sadler Architects and now the founder and CEO of ECOR Global, his new sustainable materials company headquartered in Barrio Logan ... view »

Hollywood Goes Green - ECOR® Global creates FIRST 100 percent sustainable set for 20th Century Fox TV's "Raising Hope" - Yahoo! Finance

ECOR® Global 866-417-5518, a subsidiary of Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation has created the first 100% sustainable set for 20th Century Fox's critically acclaimed comedy series "Raising Hope." ... view »

Hollywood Goes Green on FOX's RAISING HOPE - Broadway World

ECOR Global 866-417-5518, a subsidiary of Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation has created the first 100% sustainable set for 20th Century Fox's critically acclaimed comedy series RAISING HOPE. 45 of the company's patented ECOR panels were used to create a modern hotel suite for a two-part episode of the comedy ... view »

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