A Better Bush-Hog
Last time, I mentioned that the same water treatment technology was found applying to inventions related to both hydraulic fracturing for natural gas production and the production of fertilizer from manure.
Here is another intersection (∩, for you set theory mathematicians) of technologies and innovation spaces.
Patent Number 8,066,043, for a “Combination forest biomass and tree harvester, harvesting head assembly, and methods for harvesting” was issued on November 29, 2011 to James R. Leist (Colombus, MS) and assigned to Weyerhaeuser NR Company (Federal Way, WA). The invention is a woodworking one, using timber harvesting or processing that results in felling a tree, according to the original classification (144/336) on the patent.
Leist’s Claim 1:
“1. A combination forest biomass and tree harvester comprising:
a self-propelled vehicle base;
a moveable arm attached to the self propelled vehicle base;
and a harvesting head assembly connected to the moveable arm, the harvesting head assembly comprising: a frame member comprising a base portion and a main portion; a grabbing assembly attached to the main portion of the frame member, the grabbing assembly being configured for grabbing trees or forest biomass; and a cutting assembly attached to the base portion of the frame member, the cutting assembly comprising: a primary cutting mechanism positioned on a center axis, the primary cutting mechanism being configured to cut trees; and a secondary cutting mechanism positioned in an orbital configuration around the primary cutting mechanism, the secondary cutting mechanism being configured to mow forest biomass; wherein the center axis is substantially perpendicular to the base portion of the frame member.”
The purpose of the invention is to provide more efficient forest biomass harvesting (hence its placement in the patentECO Resource Extraction & Harvesting Index) to provide “biomass as an alternative energy source” (patentECO Energy Index).
Inventions of forest biomass (i.e., wood) as an alternative energy fuel source are found in 44/606, wood, sawdust or paper which is defined as subject matter in which the vegetation or refuse is a solid derived from the trunk or branches of trees for bushes, or from manufactured cellulosic sheet materials. The first patent with this classification attached (as a cross-reference) was number 9,015 issued in 1852 for the “Manufacture of Granular Fuel From Brush-Wood and Twigs.”
So here is a conundrum. Many environmentalists, preservationists, forest advocacy groups, and wilderness advocacy groups deplore forest product harvesting, yet implore the government to mandate renewable energy use by electric utilities. Biomass, and specifically forest biomass, is an eminently renewable resource. Through this patent, Weyerhaeuser has developed more efficient technology to provide a renewable energy source, that many deplore and desire at the same time.