Bark beetles are busy little buggers in the Rocky Mountain region these days, killing off swaths of trees thanks to a couple of warmer winters that have kept them more active than normal.
Officials are looking at ways to utilize the dead timber to avoid fueling forest fires in the region and one idea is to use it to make ethanol, according to a story from Wyoming on SanDiego.com.
“We’ve had at least five different energy companies looking at different forms of energy conversion,” said Larry Hicks, natural resource coordinator for the Little Snake River Conservation District.
Hicks said the technology to make ethanol from wood chips is rapidly advancing.
Carbon County Commissioner Jerry Paxton said making ethanol from wood chips would be better than using corn because corn has other uses – namely, to eat. He said he hopes that Carbon County can land a pilot project to make ethanol from beetle-killed trees.
“We’re just putting out feelers to anybody who may be interested,” he said.