Finalists for a federal grant share application details
The grant would support new uses for Wisconsin pulpwood
MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin forest products application has become a finalist for a $98 million challenge grant from a post-Covid, federal economic revival program. Representatives of the coalition involved in completing the application recently described its contents to the Wisconsin Council on Forestry.
News regarding results for the application titled “A Wisconsin Forest Products Cluster: A Catalyst for Sustaining Enduring Transformation” is expected on Dec. 8.
Stacey Johnson of the Wisconsin Paper Council and Paul Fowler, Executive Director Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, told the Council that many elements of the cluster are focused on new and innovative uses for an excess of hardwood pulpwood that has developed as changes have occurred in paper markets.
(Other organizations that assisted in the grant application included the Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, several forest products companies and unions and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.)
Maple pulpwood demand has declined by 50% while use of “recovered” paper and eucalyptus have grown. (Demand for eucalyptus pulpwood has grown by 20% over the past five years based on imports from South America.) The study will investigate the opportunity to create a premium brand for tissue and paper towels using the local hardwood raw materials.
Other possible new pulp products that will be researched if the grant is awarded include: high yield pulp, “fluff” pulp, wood fiber foams and wood thermal and acoustic insulations.
Some “non-fiber” products that will be covered by the project are: manufactured wood for construction, maple syrup and carbon offsets.