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Adding Value to Used Railroad Ties and Utility Poles

Over 20 million new wooden railroad ties are installed every year in the United States. The University of Tennessee (UT) is helping the wood industry’s contribution to sustainability by helping them re-use or dispose of treated wood coming out of service. In addition, they are helping the nation cost effectively produce biofuels and bioproducts. UT researchers are developing an additional re-use option for railroad ties and utility poles through a two-step process where they thermally extract the preservative present in the ties for re-use in the treatment of new wood and add value to the newly preservative-free biomass for higher quality bio-oil. 

NIFA supports this innovative research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. 

For more information, contact David White, University of Tennessee.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

Farm Bill Priority Areas
Agriculture systems and technology;
Bioenergy, natural resources, and environment
U.S. States and Territories
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