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April 2014

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April 2014
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Questions on the RFS and the Treatment of Woody Biomass? Look Here!  


Federal legislative support for the ethanol industry began with the Energy Tax Act of 1978 (ETA). The ETA provided partial exemptions from the federal gasoline excise tax for fuels comprised of at least ten percent biomass-based ethanol. From 1978 to 2004, federal support for ethanol remained fundamentally unchanged with the exemption from the excise tax the primary component of support (Solomon et al 2007).

However, in 2005 the ethanol industry received a major boost when the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) established the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the use of biofuels in the U.S. automotive fuel supply. The RFS mandated that production increase from the 4 billion gallons produced in 2006 to 7.5 billion gallons per year by 2012. Two years later the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) amended the RFS.  (MORE)

Hybrid Poplar Demo: IBSS - AHB Collaboration


The IBSS and AHB collaboration on the development of a Phase I commercial cottonwood-hybrid poplar demonstration is now in the ground! The demonstration planting is approximately 65 acres in size and has four cottonwood varieties and five hybrid varieties. Planting begin March 10, 2014, and is now complete.
More information on the collaboration and planting will be added to the IBSS website in the near future. 

The Role of Working Conditions in Mechanized Logging


Growth in the bioenergy industry could be constrained without growth of a skilled, motivated harvesting workforce. The logging industry anticipates some difficulty in expanding to meet historical roundwood demands much less new biomass demand. IBSS is exploring the role of working conditions in mechanized logging on musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).  As logging mechanizes, MSDs are likely to be the leading injury type, and those chronic injuries can lead to lost time, high medical and rehab costs, and disability. IBSS researchers recently completed a survey that showed that more than 70% of equipment operators reported neck and back pain, and over 10% had diagnosed MSDs. Over-fifty percent of respondents said they knew someone who left the industry or changed jobs due to discomfort. In response, we developed a presentation for logger continuing education that addresses ergonomics in machine operation. 
The survey results and summary are available HERE
The IBSS Partnership is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30410 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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