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UW Researchers Study Beetle-Killed Trees as a Sustainable Biofuel

The University of Wyoming is part of a multistate research consortium that has received a $10 million grant to investigate how to convert beetle-killed trees into high-grade gasoline.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the grant to the Bioenergy Alliance of the Rockies. UW Botany Professer Dan Tinker is leading the study’s ecological assessment. He says there’s a huge economic potential for beetle killed trees.

“There’s sort of a steady supply of beetle-killed trees even in non-epidemic years,” says Tinker. “Right now there are millions of acres of bark beetle-killed trees, not all of which are appropriate for extraction, but some of that is and one of our jobs is to figure out where it’s appropriate and make sure that it’s done in an ecologically responsible way.”

UW’s portion of the study is for about $1 million. Led by Colorado State University, the project includes researchers, extension specialists and educators in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.