WSE 465 Renewable Materials Manufacturing Experience

Nine students participated in the first class of WSE 465, Renewable Materials Manufacturing Experience. The class visited 17 different manufacturing facilities in a five day period the week of September 19, which was the week before on-campus classes began. Facilities visited included traditional wood-based manufacturers such as Seneca Lumber Co, Jeld-Wen/Bend Millwork, and Flakeboard MDF. It also included non-wood manufacturers and secondary manufacturers such as Bamboo Revolution, Renovo Hardwood Bicycles and Breedlove Guitars. In addition, the students traveled to Boardman, Oregon. There they visited  Greenwood Resources hybrid poplar tree farm, which grows and harvests fast growth, non-GMO, poplar on 35,000 acres. Most of the harvest goes to the Upper Columbia Mill, arguably one of the most advanced sawmills in the country. While in Boardman,  a visit was paid to Pacific Ethanol, a 40 million gal/year corn-based fuel manufacturer, and Zeachem, a biorefinery still under construction that will produce acetic acid, ethanol, and ethyl acetate from biomass (mostly a poplar intercrop and straw).

In all, the class traveled approximately 700 miles during the week with two overnights at motels. All participants noted that the class was interesting, informative and a positive contribution to their education. Tanner Young, a junior in the class commented:

“The WSE 465 class was a great hands-on experience, I learned about the manufacturing and marketing of wood products. This was not only one of my favorite WSE classes, but I actually learned good information for my future. There are cool stops along the way like Renovo Bicycles and Bamboo Works! I got to make friends with WSE peers early Fall term, we are all determined to graduate.

 Thanks for this opportunity!”