Forestry students finalists in business challenge

Jena Trejo and Stephen JenkinsStephen Jenkins and Jena Trejo are finalists in the Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge for their proposal to convert forest slash to methanol. Their entry in the contest sponsored by the National Forest Foundation is to develop a gasification unit that can convert forest products left after thinning and logging into a methanol biofuel. 

Jenkins and Trejo, both forestry majors, are working with with UM alumnus Taylor Woods and his company Cencom to filter out the tar produced during the gasification process. They're also developing a mobile unit that can produce biofuel in the woods next to a slash pile. They are one of six teams in the finalist round for the prize, which encourages and rewards innovative, market-based solutions to natural resource issues. 

The Barrett Challenge aims to support entrepreneurial solutions to forest health challenges on those the nation's 193-million acre National Forest System. The challenge provides a unique opportunity to develop and implement investable ideas with tangible benefits for national forests and grasslands.

The review committee for the Barrett Foundation Business Concept Challenge is Craig Barrett - former chairman and CEO of Intel and vice-chair of the National Forest Foundation; Tom Tidwell - chief of the U.S. Forest Service; Mike Brown, Jr. - founder & general partner of Bowery Capital; Hal Salwasser - professor and former dean of Oregon State University College of Forestry; William J. Possiel - president of the National Forest Foundation.