Faster decomposing trees can save energy costs

By CHAO YAN

Capital News Service
LANSING — Poplars and other trees can be bred to break down more easily to make biofuel and other products such as paper, according to scientists at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Their new study found that zip-lignin, an enzyme that indicates the high degradability of plants and that they injected into trees, is already in most plants. Plants that naturally have the highest amount can be selectively bred. The center is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University and other partners. It was established by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A solar power alternative for Meridian Township is on the horizon

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Meridian Township’s ongoing effort to become a more environmentally-friendly community, the township is investigating the solar alternative for energy production. With numbers provided by the Solar Energy Industries Association, almost 784,000 residents and businesses in the United States have switched to the usage of solar energy in some degree during the first half of 2015 alone. Meridian Township is among those considering the growing trend of alternative energy usage. In early February, David Gard, a senior consultant with 5 Lakes Energy, gave a presentation at the township’s board meeting about the Lansing Board of Water and Light’s plan to implement more solar energy options for electricity customers in the form of community solar parks. Customers will be able to lease solar panels in these parks to contribute in their energy usage.

Growth seen in alternative energy jobs

By EDITH ZHOU
Capital News Service
LANSING –Michigan manufacturers employ 498,000 people, and more than 20,700 of them are in the alternative energy industry. According to the Michigan Manufacturers Association, these alternative energy production jobs account for 4.1 percent of all manufacturing jobs. The state Bureau of Labor Market Information counted less than 9,000 jobs in the alternative energy industry in 2009. The number of jobs grew by 133 percent in three years, partly because Michigan is home to the continent’s largest lithium ion battery manufacturer. The bureau found the wind energy industry is the biggest economic winner among renewable energy technologies.