ELKTON, MD., November 18, 2021 / PRNewswire-PRWeb / – Environmentally friendly log processing is a non-chemical, vapor-based alternative to a fumigant called methyl bromide. Methyl bromide, a chemical used to control pests in agriculture and shipping, was identified as an ozone-depleting pollutant nearly two decades ago, and has been phased out by United States and the European Union for most uses, with log quarantine and pre-shipment as notable exceptions.
After more than ten years of dedicated research by Virginie Tech and the USDA Forest Service, the technology is a commercially viable solution to an industry problem. Its revolutionary process uses the application of steam and vacuum. Methyl bromide, previously used for the disinfection of log exports, will be replaced by this more environmentally friendly and practical science.
The steam / vacuum technology system is a scalable solution for the forest and agricultural products industries as it is portable or stationary and chemical free. According to the Maryland Department of Commerce, forest products are the fifth largest industry in the state of Maryland, so that the security and accessibility of technology could greatly benefit family farms.
At November 10, the effectiveness of the treatment has been tested. A test shipment of logs was prepared at the Mill Creek sawmill, consisting of two 20-foot containers filled with 8-foot white oak veneer logs. One container of treated logs and one container of untreated logs will be shipped from the port of Baltimore at the Danzer Veneer Bohemia mill in Melnick, Czech Republic.
The test shipment itself is a collaboration between the Upper Shore Regional Council (USRC), Danzer Veneer Americas, Mill Creek Lumber / Polo Pallet Manufacturing Company and Virginie Tech. Financial support comes from the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund. This is the first of three planned quality tests for the Vacuum Steam Log Processing System that will take place at Mill Creek Lumber / Polo Pallet Manufacturing in Elkton.
In 2016, the Port of Baltimore closed its fumigation facility and banned exports using methyl bromide, following its classification as an air pollutant by the State of Maryland. As a result, veneer log exporters have sought fumigation facilities in neighboring states. Thus, there is optimism about the potential of the technology to boost revenues in this sector.
After arriving in the Czech Republic, the white oak veneer logs will be inspected, tested and sliced. During inspection, the quality and performance of treated logs will be compared to untreated logs to determine any impact of the processing on the product itself. When the testing period ends in early 2022, the results will be documented and published.
“This is a key moment for international trade in Maryland,” noted Kelly M. Schulz, secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce. “This innovative technological process will restore Maryland and the wearing of Baltimore as a destination for veneer log exports, which is a billion dollar industry in United States. “
“A recently drafted economic adjustment strategy identified the development of this technology as a critical component of sustaining and growing from Maryland forest industries, ”said Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Maryland Secretary of Natural Resources. “We were delighted to support this initiative recognizing vacuum steaming as an environmentally friendly method to achieve Maryland products on the market, potentially through our own ports. “
“Sometimes it’s hard to balance sustainability with economic viability,” said Susan o’neill, executive director of the USRC. “But with dedicated collaborators from the Haute-Côte, the state, higher education and partners in the private sector, we can lead the way forward.”
Ron mack, Commodity Processing Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA APHIS CPHST) comments: “Vacuum steaming for export logs will help reopen markets for countries of the world. Europe and other places where the import of logs treated with methyl bromide has been prohibited. Test shipments that demonstrate the quality of the process to industry and regulatory authorities will help bring the technology into service in the near future. “
“The port of Baltimore is one of the main ports in the country for handling forest products, ”said William P. Doyle, executive director of the Maryland Port Authority. “The use of this new green and energy efficient technology is great news and will help us attract new business opportunities and generate additional jobs. “
Marshal Blanc, who leads the research team of Virginie Tech, is grateful for the support of the USRC to help advance this technology into commercialization. “I believe the Mill Creek Lumber / PoloPallet, Danzer Veneer, USRC and Virginie Tech the collaboration will lead to economic development opportunities for the region. We look forward to future collaborations. “
“I congratulate Polo Pallet and all the stakeholders who have played a vital role in this effort,” said Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger. “This project is another example of how Cecil County heads the agricultural industry in the state, nation, and internationally. “
Don beazley, whose Mill Creek lumber yard was the site of the log test, is excited about the potential impact of the treatment on small business exports. “The science behind the process has taken years to develop, but the system itself is simple to use. Its adaptability to different wood products, including the pallets we produce, can create new export opportunities to from Maryland small enterprises.”
About the Haute-Côte Regional Council
Since 2003, the Regional Council of the Haute-Côte (USRC) has been promoting the planning and development of Cecile, Kent and that of Queen Anne counties. The USRC provides a regional forum for federal, state, county and local governments to identify issues and opportunities. The USRC plans and implements programs to improve the quality of life in the Haute-Côte de Maryland.
Ellen buchanan, Platinum PR, 3013603506, [email protected]
SOURCE Regional Council of the Haute-Côte