Researchers test tiny machine with global potential in Jackson Demonstration State Forest

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5 thoughts on “Researchers test tiny machine with global potential in Jackson Demonstration State Forest

  1. I’m guardedly happy to see MIT and Takachar involved, but am concerned that they are being co-opted. Jackson Demonstration State Forestry, and, by association, Cal Fire have a huge credibility problem when it comes to convincing people that they are serious about carbon and climate change.

    https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/cal-fire-timber-industry-must-face-an-inconvenient-truth/

    Historic and current practices in Jackson are hardly climate-appropriate, but, rather, mobilize large amounts of carbon while degrading the carbon storage potential of the lands under their management, and elevate fire risk (which further mobilizes carbon).

    Meanwhile, given that Jackson has not been able to “demonstrate” even conventional appropriate handling of slash, how will they be able to manage something far more sophisticated, at least beyond a photo-op or two? Also, the article talks about loggers “selling” the biochar and being “incentivized” to not mishandle slash, but it’s not clear how this project/technology might achieve that or how it could be cost-effective. In any case, only focusing on “small-diameter” feedstocks, isn’t going to address the massive amounts of medium- and large-diameter slash that Cal Fire is leaving in the forest.

    The public deserves evidence that this little project is more than green-washing, particularly given the timing of this announcement just at the moment when JDSF’s management practices are being called into question and running into substantial public opposition.

    Footnote: the article also incorrectly refers to tan oak as an invasive species that can be burned to make biochar. It is in fact a native and serves an important role in our forest.

  2. If researchers and scientists are so worried about global polluters, they should be doing this in Indonesia, China and India… you know, where the worst global polluters actually are doing the worst polluting.

  3. A very thoughtful reply Evan. I have my concerns as well, which include the focus on biochar instead of other byproducts, probably because significant energy is required for gasification. Despite that though, a large mobile or regional gasification plant could turn this same wastestream into a variety of things, including fuels, feeds, and chemicals that are high-value and could represent a secondary market opportunity. The best way to incentivize is to create alternate cash streams. I can only imagine an industry transformed from high-grading and watershed impacts to more sustainable practices. Wood waste is an insanely underutilized resource.

  4. The tan oaks in my yard are about to be chopped down, and to me are invasive. I will use them as fire wood because it burns pretty darn good.
    Regarding the “massive amounts of slash generated by calfire and jsdf” in their “operations”, it is apparent you know very little not only about logging in general, but the goals of a demonstration forest in the first place. And since the hippies of the Redwood Summer peed in the pool, sustainably logging any forest has become impossibly full of stupidly unnecessary RED TAPE. All in the name of saving the planet. If these people didnt live in houses BUILT FROM LUMBER or use WOOD to heat their homes in cold weather, or wipe their ASSES WITH PAPER PRODUCTS, perhaps they wouldnt appear so hypocritical, and because of all their protesting, any logging operation really has such little lee way, why even bother!? You caused this! All this “carbon capture” and “sequestering” only showcases the fact that many of you have lost your minds! What will you do when the PERMAFROST begins to melt and sets off apocalyptic chain reactions???
    As far as calfire I can neither endorse nor condemn their practices, but they better not HACK AND SQUIRT NEAR A WATERSHED. PERIOD.

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