Friday Offcuts – 1 December 2023

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Hot on the heels of our annual ForestTECH 2023 conference series (photos taken during the forest technology series can be viewed here) run for local and international foresters, we’ve built in this week a number of technology stories linked to our industry.

First up, drones being used for detailed data capture, above and under canopy, were very much a key theme covered at ForestTECH this year. AirForestry, a Swedish drone company that’s been working on thinning forests from above using electric autonomous drones has recently demonstrated just how far they’ve come since first announcing their concept in 2022. In a recent demonstration, a 6-metre heavy-duty drone (with a pretty impressive 200-kg payload capacity) can be seen lowering the harvesting tool onto the tree, it removes branches as it descends, it then cuts the tree using an electric chainsaw and lifts the stem out to roadside. We’ve built in a video this week to demonstrate it in action.

In wood residues utilisation, this week Forico, Tasmania’s largest private forestry manager, has just announced the signing of a MOU with leading eFuels company, HIF Global, to support the development of Australia’s first eFuels production facility. As well as using a site at Forico’s Surrey Hills plantation 30 km south of Burnie and potential investment in the project, a biomass supply agreement has also been set up for residue biomass from the company’s hardwood plantations in Tasmania. Around 200 permanent jobs in Tasmania’s north west will be created and by 2028, the new plant’s expected to be producing up to 100 million litres of eGasoline.

In wood transport, following Isuzu Australia’s Brisbane Truck Show attendance, the company at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo late last month showcased a broad range of emerging technology, including the latest battery-electric advancements, the long-awaited hydrogen fuel-cell prototype, and internal combustion improvements. Since 2020, both Isuzu and Honda have backed hydrogen fuel cell technology as a solution for heavier loads over longer distances. There was also a world-first reveal of the e- Vision Cycle Concept, showcasing the potential for a fast- turnaround battery-swap system. And at a recent launch in Germany, Mercedes-Benz Trucks unveiled the series version battery electric long-haul eActros 600 which, according to the company, is set to replace the majority of diesel trucks in this segment over the long term. The new truck has a range of 500km on a single charge.

To finish on, to stretch your mind, we’ve included a short story on a new technology, 4D printing. What is it? Well, a 3D-printed object maintains a static shape and properties, but a 4D-printed object is able to transform or change its shape or properties over time. Flat boards or panels could for example be created using 4D printing and they could be programmed to automatically fold or transform into finished furniture pieces simply by getting wet or being exposed to light. And that’s it for this week.

P.S. Finally, as we get closer to the end of year, the last issue for Friday Offcuts for 2023 is Friday 15 December 2023, with the first issue for 2024 planned for Friday 19 January 2024. If looking to advertise in the newsletter, please ensure you’re advertising for the dates listed. Advertising for the first issue for next year will be taken from 8 January 2024. If you have any questions about advertising in the lead up to the summer break, please contact ken.wilson@innovatek.co.nz.

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Australia´s first eFuels plant announced

HIF Tasmania eFuels facility is expected to start producing up to 100 million liters of carbon neutral eFuels per year in 2028

HIF Global, the world’s leading eFuels company, on Wednesday announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Forico, Tasmania’s largest private forestry manager, to support development of Australia’s first eFuels production facility.

The collaboration anticipates utilisation of a site at Forico’s Surrey Hills plantation 30 km south of Burnie, supply of biomass and water, and potential investment in the project. HIF Tasmania eFuels facility is expected to produce up to 100 million litres of eGasoline by 2028 and recycle around 250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from plantation biomass, equivalent to decarbonising 60,000 vehicles every year.

HIF Global and Forico also executed a biomass supply agreement and will now work towards finalising a contract for supply of residue biomass from its sustainably certified hardwood plantations in Tasmania, which will be needed for HIF’s eFuel production process. Engineering work by the HIF team and its engineering partner Technip Energies is progressing well with construction start scheduled for 2025.

Ignacio Hernandez, HIF Asia Pacific’s CEO, said: “Our agreement with Forico secures an ideal location to construct the HIF Tasmania eFuels facility and identifies the sourcing strategy for our biomass. We look forward to working with Forico to put Australia at the forefront of the global effort to reduce emissions from the transport sector. We have initiated engineering design and are now closer to creating approximately 200 permanent jobs in Tasmania’s north west. eFuels production from our facility at Haru Oni, Chile demonstrates that eFuels are available now as a direct replacement to fossil fuel, decarbonising existing cars, trucks, ships, and aircraft”.

Evangelista Albertini, CEO of Forico, said: “We have been working closely with the HIF team to help develop this innovative facility. An eFuel plant is perfectly suited to make best use of Tasmania’s abundant renewable energy and sustainably sourced biomass from our Forestry Stewardship Council certified estate. Having visited HIF’s impressive operating plant in Chile, we are convinced that eFuels will play a vital role in the fight against climate change by decarbonising the world’s existing vehicle fleet”.

“Forico is particularly motivated by the opportunity to use biomass residues from our plantation forestry operations in the production of eFuel, a highly innovative solution that further underlines the importance of plantation forestry as an important contributor to managing climate change.”

Forico’s Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Jacobs added: “Forico is particularly motivated by the opportunity to productively use biomass residues from our operations, reducing replant costs, the need for burning and making use of an under-utilised resource in the production of eFuel, a highly innovative resource for the future.”

Cesar Norton, HIF Global’s President and CEO, said: “Australia has enormous potential to be a key player in meeting the huge worldwide demand for eFuels and this is another big stride towards realising that potential. It is also another step forward on HIF’s path to delivering 150,000 barrels per day of eFuels from a global portfolio of facilities in the next decade.”

Photo: (L-R) Evangelista Albertini, CEO of Forico and Ignacio Hernandez, CEO of HIF Asia Pacific

Source: Forico

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Milestone - heavy duty drone lifts a tree!

AirForestry, renowned for its pioneering work with drone technology for harvesting trees, has recently showcased that its drone can attach to a tree top and lift a tree trunk. 

"We're quite literally elevating the future of forestry," said Dr Mauritz Andersson, CTO and Cofounder of AirForestry. "Harvesting trees from above using drones was once thought impossible. Today, we're turning that vision into reality, demonstrating not just the technological feasibility but also the environmental advantages of our approach."

The innovative system, encompassing a 6-meter heavy-duty drone, a unique harvesting tool, A.I.-based automation, and a control station, represents a significant leap from traditional logging practices. As demonstrated in the attached video, the drone first navigates to a thinning site, precisely identifies a tree using computer vision, and subsequently employs the harvesting tool to grip the tree's top.

Utilizing gravity, the tool descends the tree, defoliating branches and leaving them as natural forest nourishment. The culmination of the process sees the harvesting tool cutting the tree trunk with an electric chainsaw, then the drone flies the tree trunk to a designated collection point by the roadside.



"Our solution is not only about big drones. It's about sustainability, efficiency, and ensuring minimal impact on our precious forests," Dr Andersson continued. "Being fully electric, our drones leverage high-performance batteries and on-the-go charging stations. The tool's lightweight design, paired with the drone's impressive 200-kilogram payload capacity, ensures an efficient and eco-friendly harvest cycle."

The company's journey, from founding and the first prototype in the summer of 2020, to the full size drone’s inaugural flight last summer, through the rigors of a Swedish winter at temperatures plummeting to -20°C, has been filled with noteworthy milestones. Each of these steps has been critical to the company's current triumph: a drone that can lift trees and transport it to the nearest road without inflicting damage on the forest floor.

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Source: Cision News

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Toitū Envirocare moving out of NZ carbon credits

Aotearoa New Zealand’s carbon certification and advisory services provider Toitū Envirocare has announced it will transition out of accepting New Zealand carbon credits in its carbon certification programmes. Carbon credits that have been issued under the PFSI (Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative) and PP89 (Permanent Post 1989 Forest category of the Emissions Trading Scheme) will no longer be accepted for offsetting in the Toitū carbon certification programmes.

This strategic shift aligns with the evolving standards in the global Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), as they no longer meet the latest international best practice, especially amid heightened demand for integrity and transparency in carbon credit projects. The transition will commence in early 2024, once the new best practice becomes operational.

Toitū Envirocare Chief Science and Advisory Officer Dr Belinda Mathers said, “We appreciate the importance of supporting New Zealand based projects, and historically these projects have been accepted as suitable quality, but market expectations for carbon credits have changed. While there are excellent indigenous forestry projects in Aotearoa, the NZ schemes that issue carbon credits are not being assessed by the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM), against the quality requirements, so cannot show that they meet expectations. We conducted a thorough review of options for continuing to use the New Zealand credits, but none are yet suitable for meeting best practice”.

Both the carbon credit projects (PFSI and PP89) were set up for permanent forest carbon credit projects for the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme, the Government’s regulatory compliance scheme aimed at reducing national greenhouse gas emissions. Its standards are designed to meet specific national policy goals and legal requirements.

In contrast, the VCM, where Toitū operates, adheres to different, more stringent, standards. These are guided by international best practice and emphasise aspects such as transparency, global applicability, and additional environmental or social benefits. Toitū Envirocare’s decision is to ensure it can remain aligned with the latest international best practices, market expectations, and provide the highest levels of international recognition and transparency to NZ businesses.

Toitū Envirocare follows international best practice as set by the ICVCM, the independent global governance body for the VCM. It is their latest guidance established as a global standard for carbon credit quality that defines New Zealand carbon credits as no longer meet the quality requirements. The New Zealand carbon credit programmes (PFSI and PP89) are government owned and were primarily developed for selling into the compliance-based NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

At this stage there is no intention for the PFSI and PP89 to get assessed. As a result, projects under these schemes cannot be approved as ICVCM compliant, even if they individually meet the criteria.

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Source: Scoop

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Australian Pine Log Price Index report released

The latest Australian Pine Log Price Index for the January to June 2023 period has been released.

The Australian Pine Log Price Index (“the Index”) is compiled by KPMG using data provided by Australian softwood growers. The Index documents changes in pine log prices achieved by large-scale commercial plantation owners selling common grades of plantation softwood logs to domestic processors.

KPMG updates the Index biannually, with the two reporting periods being January to June and July to December. The Index has a base period of January to June 1998.

KPMG acts as the independent Index manager and collects confidential data on log volumes and stumpage values for all sales, including long and short-term contracts and spot transactions, at the end of each reporting period. Quantity information on export sawlogs and export pulpwood is also provided.

The following report presents the result of the Index from January to June 2023. The prices for all classes of sawlogs, preservation logs and export sawlogs are reported in dollars per cubic metre ($/m3). The prices for the pulplogs and export pulplogs are reported in dollars per tonne ($/t).

Contributions to the Index are made by major growers who are involved in the growing and management of softwood plantations in southern and eastern Australia.

The report is attached here for your information.

Source: KPMG

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SnapSTAT - Australia: Forest estate decline continues

Australia’s plantation estate is still on a worrying downward trajectory, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics (ABARES) figures. Australia’s total plantation area contracted to 1.716 million hectares in 2021-22 – a reduction of more than 28,000 hectares.



Australia’s hardwood plantation area continues to decline, with the total plantation estate at its smallest area since 2003-04



Source:Full PDF here

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Eight NZ Wood Councils collaborate

Wood Council’s (WCs) in New Zealand are now collaborating under a New Zealand Regional Wood Council Group Accord (Accord).

Eight WCs from the forest industry around New Zealand have signed an Accord to improve industry responsiveness and promote shared activity. The intent is to align and expand WC projects and elevate industry performance and success, in identified areas of common interest in the regions. The Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) calls for improvements to industry function and to grasp the full and unique potential offered by forest products in the necessary shift to a bioeconomy.

• Northland Wood Council
• Eastland Wood Council
• Hawkes Bay Forestry Group
• Southern North Island Wood Council
• Top of the South Wood Council
• Southern Wood Council
• Central North Island Wood Council
• Canterbury – West Coast Wood Council

Source: BANZ Bioflash

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Log & lumber markets may be worse than you think

Russ Taylor, Russ Taylor Global

My personal view is that the real situation is probably worse that what is being reported. European demand will be about 11% lower in 2023 vs. 2022 and lower again in 2024. China’s consumption levels are completely stalled from a construction market in chaos. Consequently, it is going to take until sometime next year for a recovery to occur.


Overall consumer sentiment in China is at a 12-month low as there continue to be lingering concerns over the future of the Chinese construction market. This has been not only a key driver of the economy (up to 24% of GDP but now closer to 19%), but a key driver in the wealth of Chinese citizens. With the construction industry awash in massive debts and no clear path ahead, this is having a negative impact on end users’ demand for imported logs and low-grade lumber for use in construction.

Inventories of logs and lumber at ocean ports and distribution yards are very low in China, especially when compared to previous years. Some Scandinavian and Russian lumber exporters thought that October was a good time to raise lumber prices in China and appearance grade quotes were increased from US$220/m3 to US$260/m3. These high prices were not at all tied to demand, although the furniture and decoration markets were at least stable.

The low inventories simply reflect a general lack of business and limited interest in hold inventories! Consequently, by early November, prices had settled back to US$230/m3. The higher priced lumber purchased by some of the smaller operations may squeeze some manufacturers as they cannot raise prices to their customers, but perhaps the squeeze will not be enough to force any significant curtailments in the short term.

The plight of the low-grade W-SPF (and Hem-Fir) lumber importers in China is one that I heard often during my travels. W-SPF #3 lumber prices reached a high of US$280/m3, CIF China, in April 2022 (right after Chinese New Year). After that, prices consistently moved lower month-over-month and one year later were US$160/m3, where they have remained. This constant price decline has meant huge losses for W-SPF importers and distributors in China and is a symptom of the declining construction and concrete forming business.

Of course, Chinese importers would welcome increased lumber prices if they were sustainable. However, most importers in China are worried about what happens after Chinese New Year in 2024. They remember very clearly what happened in 2023, as everyone thought there would be rising demand and higher prices after the COVID lockdowns were removed. The opposite occurred, and many overbought high-priced lumber in all grades in first quarter 2023 and have been licking their wounds ever since.

Inventories of logs and lumber are clearly well below historical levels. However, they are low because of weak demand and the prospects of little upside going forward, especially for use in the construction segment. Appearance lumber for use in furniture and decoration is probably the exception, but demand is not increasing, it is only holding.

If there are more shocks to consumer confidence, then all bets are off for any increases in imported logs or lumber or prices until well after Chinese New Year in 2024. Many buyers are carefully watching their purchases and are planning to conservatively manage their inventories so they are prepared for any potential market slump after Chinese New Year. Of course, if their bet is wrong and demand picks up, the ultra-low inventories in China would mean that exporters could raise their prices to take advantage of the importers’ need to buy.

In a sense, this could be a win-win, but only if it is sustainable and not a three-month hiccup. This all means that lumber exporters to China should be also careful on their shipment volumes, as their future business in China could be negatively impacted if prices decline from weaker demand and/or there are excessive inventories after Chinese New Year.

Longer term, the story is going to be much different, as some shortages are forecast, according to our upcoming report. Russ Taylor Global (Canada) and Margules Groome (New Zealand & Australia) have teamed up to present a strategic analysis and outlook of China’s plantations, and log and lumber supply/demand/prices.

Source: Russ Taylor Global



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NZ log export prices firm in November

Prices for NZ log exports are slowly improving, but a forestry consultant says the sector must find new international markets to reduce its reliance on China. Export prices have firmed this month, with sales to New Zealand's largest customer, China, picking up - despite its post-Covid construction slowdown.

November prices rose $9 on October, approaching NZ$110 per Japanese Agricultural Standard metre-squared at the wharf gate of South Island ports, and $5-10 more for North Island exporters. Sales are solid for log exporters. New Zealand exports to China have been dropping. Log, wood and wood article exports made up NZ$4.8 billion of New Zealand's total NZ$46b of goods bound for the country in the year to September.

Allan Laurie of forestry consultancy and managment firm Laurie Forestry said it was vital forestry companies tried to seek new markets. "China continues to be 80 percent of what we do into export markets and that's a challenge, of course, and one that the New Zealand forestry sector has to consider," Laurie said.

But he said money-tight forestry companies would struggle to fund in-market research and trips abroad to find new customers globally. "It's really time for New Zealand forestry Inc to get out into the world and start to look at other markets and improve our sales opportunities internationally, looking to non-traditional markets even where we know radiata pine stands very, very well against many other species."

Laurie wanted to see larger tariffs and increased levy fees so companies could partner with government officials to develop those new markets. He said the South Korean market was "probably in even worse shape than China right now" - but India was standing out as having good opportunities for New Zealand radiata pine exporters - at prices close to Chinese values.

"India has not been a great market for New Zealand over the last couple of years with countries like Uruguay shipping in cheaper fibre. But there is some pressure on exporters at the moment to look back to India as an opportunity and my understanding is there's a vessel heading up there this month for the first time in some time."

Diversification was key for the sector as most of the country's sawmills relied on exports, but there was more timber being produced than being consumed, he said.

Recently, Japanese-owned Juken New Zealand announced 80 staff would lose their jobs once the Gisborne Mill shuts down due to ongoing financial difficulties and weak demand for its Japanese housing wood products. Laurie said intense competition between New Zealand's export sawmills influenced the unfortunate closure.

"Yes, that it is a shame. It is a reflection of a sawmilling capacity in New Zealand which in a standard month is in excess of demand so then you see challenges around pricing. Sawmills tend to compete with each other very rigorously so it's a challenging time for sawmills, their margins are down."

Sawmill owners were taking on big losses in their export lumber sales - with markets across Southeast Asia being inundated with supply amid weak pricing, he said.

Source: RNZ

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Isuzu showcases future of transport at Mobility Show

Isuzu Motors displayed its heavy-duty Giga Fuel Cell truck and N Series battery electric model at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo along with battery-swap concepts and new product development processes. It follows hot off the heels of Isuzu Australia’s Brisbane Truck Show attendance, which featured the first appearance of the zero emission N Series EV in the southern hemisphere.

The theme of the stand in Tokyo emphasis the brand’s vision of a “mobility society”, showcasing a broad range of emerging technology, including the latest battery-electric advancements, the long-awaited hydrogen fuel-cell prototype, and internal combustion improvements.

There was also a world-first reveal of the e-Vision Cycle Concept, showcasing the potential for a fast-turnaround battery-swap system. In attendance at this year’s event, Isuzu Australia director and chief operating officer Andrew Harbison, said the expo provided a chance to get to grips with the cutting-edge transportation technology.

“Our industry is in the midst of unprecedented change. From the very fundamentals of the way in which we do business, to evolving environmental and societal expectations its clear an industry transition is well and truly upon us,” he said. “From a product perspective, events like the Mobility Show are invaluable for markets such as Australia. Having direct access to some of the key emerging technologies, we’re looking at genuine solutions in our corner of the world which are both insightful and highly valuable.

“Having boots on the ground here in Tokyo, it’s hard not to get swept up in the concept that this really is a critical juncture in our industry’s history. “It’s a fantastic time to be involved in the transport industry and it does feel as though we’re on the cusp of seismic change in the way we think about and approach transport and mobility, especially from a product perspective,” Harbison says.

Isuzu’s introduction of a “modular approach” to its future product development platform was another highlight. This includes the introduction of modular architecture and a component standard which allows for optimal merging of components, parts, and devices across various needs and applications. It breaks with the convention of developing model-specific parts.

This fresh product development approach comes in anticipation of new and emerging technologies. The Tokyo exhibit was part of a joint stand with UD Trucks and featured Isuzu’s hydrogen truck that’s being jointly developed with Honda Motor Co. At the show it attracted plenty of attention on the stand, going on display for the very first time.

Since 2020, both Isuzu and Honda have backed hydrogen fuel cell technology as a solution for heavier loads over longer distances. Production models are expected to begin in 2027 with the pace of FCEVs as genuine heavy-duty solutions gathering pace in recent years.

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Source: Transporttalk

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Mercedes-Benz premieres long-haul eActros

Mercedes-Benz Trucks has unveiled the series version battery electric long-haul eActros 600 which, according to the company, is set to replace the majority of diesel trucks in the segment over the long term. The model made its global debut on October 10 in front of an international audience at an event held near Hamburg, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz says the model promises to “define the new standard in terms of technology, sustainability, design and profitability”. It follows the market launch of the first eActros for heavy-duty distribution transport in 2021. The eActros 600 features a range of 500km on a single charge and can achieve more than 1000km per day with intermediate charging during legally prescribed driver breaks – even without megawatt-charging, the company says.

The high battery capacity of more than 600 kilowatt hours is where the model gets its designation—it features three battery packs, each with 207kWh. It has a gross combination weight of up to 44 tonnes and a payload of around 22 tonnes with a standard trailer.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks chief executive Karin Rådström says the eActros 600 “stands for the transformation of road freight transport towards CO2-neutrality like no other truck with a three-pointed star. This makes entry into e-mobility even more attractive for fleet operators.”

According to the company, around 60% of long-distance journeys of Mercedes-Benz Trucks customers in Europe are shorter than 500km. Charging infrastructure at the depot and at the loading and unloading points is sufficient in such cases, it says.

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Source: transporttalk



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New airport terminal showcases 9 acre timber roof

All the wood for the 9-acre roof was sourced from within 300 miles of the airport. It could be a game-changer for mass timber.

When Portland, Oregon, opens up a soaring new airport terminal in May 2024, it’s widely expected to become a signature building. Part of the draw will be the sweeping, mass timber construction, including a 9-acre roof boasting gracious curves and skylights.

The project’s uniqueness in no small way is thanks to its supply chain. Every piece of wood was sourced from within 300 miles of the airport, and about half of it came from 13 small and tribal landowners in Washington and Oregon. The process was so exacting, the architects knew every board that frames the skylights above the 26 Y-columns came from the Yakama Nation, and all the double beams in the six massive oval skylights came from the Coquille Indian Tribe.

“We’re a natural resource state, and creating that connection into our community was really important,” says Vince Granato, chief projects officer at the Port of Portland. This forest-to-frame system used for the Portland International Airport sought out more sustainably minded landowners, who supported better forest practices, says Jacob Dunn, principal at ZGF, the firm that designed the terminal.

“Architects usually talk to the top of the supply chain, the manufacturers,” he says. “We don’t usually talk to landowners.”

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Source: fastcompany.com



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The future of 4D printing technology

From its earliest origins, printing has sparked revolutions. Information sharing transformed overnight when Gutenberg developed the printing press in the 15th century. Ideas could spread globally faster than ever through mass-produced texts.

While book printing is a landmark technology dating back decades, more recent innovations like 3D and 4D printing can potentially transform the world. In this post, we will explore the concept of 4D printing technology and discuss promising areas of research that could help advance this exciting new frontier.

What is 4D printing?

In 4D printing, a fourth dimension of time is added to models. A 3D-printed object maintains a static shape and properties, but a 4D-printed object can transform or change its shape or properties over time.

In 4D printing, specially designed smart materials like hydrogel resins and active polymers are used as the printing material. The materials are programmed to autonomously morph into a different predetermined shape when exposed to a particular stimulus later on, like self-assembling furniture, garments that transform based on weather conditions, and materials that heal cracks as naturally as skin.

This allows 4D-printed objects to become dynamic, ‘living’ creations that can move, assemble, repair, or disassemble depending on the programming within the smart materials.

Potential Future Applications

Some potential ways 4D technology could be used in the future include:

Aerospace

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers have started investigating what 4D printing can do. Polit Casillas used 4D printing to create small squares of material like chain mail armor. The printed material can reflect heat, fold without breaking, and resist stretching and tearing.

In the future, it may protect spaceships from meteorites. It could also insulate a spacecraft visiting icy moons like Europa. It's possible that in the future, these materials could help shield spacecraft from meteorites, be used in astronaut spacesuits, or assist in collecting samples on planetary surfaces.

Manufacturing and Logistics

4D printing can help the logistics/supply chain sector by reducing the costs of manufacturing and transporting goods. Objects printed with it have self-assembly, self-expanding, and self-repairing abilities, which help reduce costs and streamline production like never before.

Furniture

With 4D printing, flat boards or panels could be created that are programmed to automatically fold or transform into finished furniture pieces once activated by a stimulus. This would overcome the size limitations of 3D printers. For example, a flat board printed with smart materials might curl up into the finished shape of a chair simply by getting wet or being exposed to light.

Endnote

4D printing hints at all sorts of intriguing possibilities on the horizon. While some of these ideas sound straight out of science fiction today, technology is steadily advancing. There's work still to be done, yet each new advancement edges us closer to a world of shapeshifting realities. With continued progress in both research and creative visions, we can make self-altering designs a reality.

Source: Scoop

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World’s largest biomass energy company near collapse

This year has been a financial disaster for Enviva, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets for the biomass energy industry. With more than $250 million in losses to date and worsening results expected in the fourth quarter, the once high-flying company’s viability, by its own admission, is in grave doubt.

Also in question is where Enviva’s European Union and Asian customers will source the pellets they burn in their converted coal power plants and — without those pellets — how nations will meet their energy needs and their pledged Paris Agreement carbon emission cuts.

To many financial analysts who closely follow company performance, Enviva’s near collapse this month appears to have happened rapidly and suddenly. But did it?

The problems have been there for years. There are lots of issues, but they stem from fundamental challenges Enviva faces in wood costs and keeping its manufacturing plants operating at full capacity,” a former Enviva maintenance manager told Mongabay. “It’s all coming home to roost in a kind of cumulative way.”

In exclusive interviews with Mongabay, the former Enviva employee detailed critical problems he witnessed and grappled with as a top operations manager at two of Enviva’s 10 Southeast U.S. plants between mid-2020 and mid-2022. His insights help explain why Enviva is now in dire financial straits.

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Source: Mongabay


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... and one to end the week on ... the Kornmehl episode

Dr. Kornmehl was a world-famous cardiologist who earned his undergraduate, graduate, and medical degrees in his home town and then left for Manhattan where he quickly rose to the top of his field.

Soon he was invited to deliver a significant paper, at a conference coincidently held in his home town. He walked on stage, placed his papers on the lectern, but they slid off onto the floor.

As he bent over to retrieve them, at precisely the wrong instant, he inadvertently passed wind. The microphone amplified his mistake resoundingly through the lecture room and reverberated it down the hall!

He was quite embarrassed but somehow regained his composure just enough to deliver his paper. He ignored the resounding applause and raced out the stage door, never to be seen in his home town again.

Decades later, when his elderly mother was ill, he returned to visit her. He reserved a hotel room under the name of Cohen and arrived under cover of darkness.

The desk clerk asked him, "Is this your first visit to our city, Mr. Cohen?" Dr. Kornmehl replied, "Well, young man, no, it isn't. I grew up here, received my education here, but then moved away."

"Why haven't you visited?" asked the desk clerk. "Actually, I visited once, many years ago, but an embarrassing thing happened and since then I've been too ashamed to return."

The clerk consoled him. "Sir, while I don't have your life experience, one thing I have learned is that often what seems embarrassing to me isn't even remembered by others. I bet that's true of your incident too."

Dr. Kornmehl replied, "Son, I doubt that's the case with my embarrassment."

"Was it a long time ago?" "Yes, many years."

The clerk then asked, "Was it before or after the Kornmehl episode?"





And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177

John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks News
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011
Web: woodworks.events

Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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