Bioenergy - Analyzing wood
Soon, men and mice won't be the only beneficiaries of CT technology's diagnostic wonders. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are developing ways to use a computer tomography machine originally designed for small laboratory animals to analyze wood, with potential applications in the pulp, paper and nascent bioenergy industries. ORNL researcher Justin Baba is working to develop analytical tools to determine parameters such as fiber length and arrangement, cell wall thickness and density from the CT scans. These scans could replace more destructive, chemical-dependant, methods of analyzing wood samples that compromise the information collection process. The technology could potentially be used to easily determine if a particular wood should be made into stationery ? or toilet paper. For bioenergy, after some basic measurement standards are established, the scans will be able to show the cellulosic content of wood to help create a cellulose-based biofuel supply. The work is funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program.
December 15, 2006