By John Schmid
The Wisconsin paper industry can look back with pride on a century of innovation, from renewable forestry to Kleenex to coated magazine paper. But the industry's struggles during two decades that have seen the development of e-books and iPads have called that innovation culture into question.
Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are developing patented technology that they hope can transform dead or dying paper mills into an entirely new industry, capable of extracting the carbon that trees absorb naturally and converting it into biofuels and other products.
"I see that these kinds of technologies, which lead us to renewable chemicals and renewable plastics, as the future," said Eric Singsaas, the university's lead scientist on the biorefinery project.