Bioenergy Day was broadcasted live on WBIR! Brian Davidson, chief scientist from the Bioenergy Division on ORNL, demonstrates on set how the energy in sugar is converted to fuel! Watch the whole clip here, and stop by the free event at UT Arboretum Auditorium in Oak Ridge today from 3 to 5 for many more exhibits and activities.
Massachusetts Wood Energy Team Tweeted an intriguing blog post “Amidst Fall Foliage, Bioenergy Day is a Celebration of Our Abundant Forests”:
“October 19th 2016-The hills in New England are alive with color as the Massachusetts Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET) celebrates National Bioenergy Day and the use of wood, our most abundant and environmentally friendly biofuel. By using our local wood supply to provide reliable and low-cost energy, modern wood heating technology benefits both our economy and our forests.
If you drive through the Berkshires or up to Vermont to see the foliage, take a moment to appreciate that more than 60% of Massachusetts is forested and more than 75% of those woodlands are privately owned. We can thank our neighbors, and their commitment to the land, that every October we gaze upon seemingly endless displays of red, orange, and yellow foliage.
Part of this commitment includes sustainable forest management. Landowners periodically harvest or thin their woods to give better trees more room to grow. The extra space helps these high-quality trees grow faster and take in more carbon dioxide. Sufficient markets for wood that is removed help landowners maintain their management practices.
Wood energy markets supply low-cost heating fuel to many families and create jobs for rural areas. Modern wood heating technologies are clean burning and efficient. In Vermont, more than 30% of public school students attend a school heated with wood, as do most students at Vermont colleges. Vermont’s use of wood heat supports local jobs, keeps fuel dollars in the regional economy, and prioritizes healthy and productive forests.
Like Vermont, Massachusetts is blessed with abundant forests. Our three million acres of woodlands are growing wood five times faster than we cut it. Nearly a million tons of waste wood is generated by our communities each year from tree removals, utility tree trimming, and landscaping. Instead of importing 98% of our wood products, why don’t we make use of this plentiful local supply to heat our schools, town halls, colleges, and homes?
This year, three schools in Massachusetts have installed modern wood heat, and there are dozens more that could benefit from the cost savings and the opportunity to lead Massachusetts into a low-carbon future. A common expression in the environmental community is “think globally, act locally.” Today, the Massachusetts SWET is thinking about global climate change, and envisioning how local wood heat can be part of the solution. So join us in celebrating modern wood heat and its contributions to our economy and our forests, which not only provide beautiful foliage, but also filter our water and air, provide habitat, and are an important part of a renewable energy future.
The Massachusetts SWET identifies and assists with the expansion of wood energy technologies. The team is supported by a U.S. Forest Service Initiative and coordinated by the Massachusetts Forest Alliance. The Massachusetts Forest Alliance is a trade association that advocates for a strong, sustainable forest economy, responsible forest management practices, private land equity and the continuation of working forests on public and private lands.
To learn more click here.”
Bill Sawyer from Minnesota Power Renewable Business Operations and Brian Brashaw from the U.S.D.A. Forest Products Laboratory were guests on the Almanac North last Friday, October 14th 2016. Sawyer and Brashaw explained the operations of biomass as a renewable source of fuel and the “silver lining” facilities such as these offer the community in times of need. Minnesota Power was able to kill two birds with one stone by converting the collect downed trees into power for its customers. Hear the full story on this link.
University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s educational day has been featured in the Knoxville News Sentinel. Tomorrow will be dedicated to teaching kids of all age about biofuels and bioproducts. The activities range from 3D printer and microscope exhibits to internship opportunities for high school students. Read more of the article featuring Bioenergy Day. Channeling local news sources are a fantastic way to spread the word about an organization in the community and the benefits of bioenergy!
Frank Fredrickson, general manager of Minnesota Power, interviewed with Jim Gullickson on air with the Rural Minnesota Radio. Fredrickson uses this platform to increase awareness about Bioenergy Day, and the advantages bioenergy offers to local communities, he says, “One of the things I like to share with people about biomass for renewable energy is that it has the highest impact for local jobs and local economies… it really has a great benefit to our rural economy.”
Visit the radio’s website to hear Part I and II of Fredrickson and Gullickson’s discussion, as well as other news covered by the station. Below is a transcription of Renewable Energy in Northeast Minnesota, Part II.
“Jim: Welcome to Rural Minnesota Radio, a collaboration between the Center for Rural Policy and Development, and Minnesota State University in Mankato. I’m Jim Gullickson and joining me by phone today is Frank Fredrickson. He’s the general manager of Minnesota Power hydro and biomass renewable operations. Welcome to the program Frank, good to have you on board.
Frank: Thank you, appreciate the opportunity.
Jim: Now Frank, last week we talked a bit about biomass and the fact that you folks use forest residue from the forest products industry, which is prevalent in northern Minnesota, and turn that into steam which powers the turbines and makes electricity and that sort of thing. It’s a renewable energy, as you were pointing out. Another area that your company is strong in is hydroelectric, is that still true today?
Frank: Yes it is, Minnesota Power started as a hydro electric utility. So about up until 1930 we were 100% renewable, 100% hydro, so I like to tell people that we were renewable before it was cool. Since then, we still retain 5% of our energy from hydro; we’re the largest operator for hydroelectric resources in the state of Minnesota.
Jim: So where are some of these hydro plants located?
Frank: Where there [are] rivers and where there [are] changes in elevation. Our largest facility is located inside Jay Cooke State Park. That state park was created from land donated from Minnesota Power’s predecessor in the creation of that hydro resource. So we call that our Thompson Hydro facility, it’s capable of over 72 megawatts of generation and it counts for over two thirds of our hydro capability. But we have 11 facilities across the state, spread out on different watersheds. We have one on the northern watershed just east of Ely – our Winton facility. We have several facilities on the Mississippi watershed, along the Grand Rapids area and then again down around Little Falls and Brainerd area. We have facilities on the St. Louis River watershed, and that all flows through that facility and Thompson in Fond du Lac communities. We have facilities on the Gull River, we call them our Pillager and our Sylvan facilities. Pillager and Sylvan are located west of Brayden Baxter.
One of the things that I wanted to cover on Bioenergy, in terms of the jobs impact, [is] our facilities: our biomass facilities directly employee approximately 80 people. When you factor in our contracted loggers and services, that number easily doubles. One of the things I like to share with people about biomass for renewable energy is that it has the highest impact for local jobs and local economies, particularly when you factor that nearly all the fuel procured for the facility is done within a 100 mile radius. So it really has a great benefit to our rural economy. In October, the Biomass Power Association is hosting its 4th annual National Bioenergy day on October 19th 2016, and that’s something we like to encourage people to go to www.bioenergyday.com to learn more bioenergy and its impact on our communities.
Jim: Thanks Frank, it has been educational and we really appreciate your time.
Frank: Thank you very much.
Jim: This has been Minnesota Radio. We’ll catch you next week.”
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forest is planning a robust lecture series “on the opportunities for mitigating climate change by using bioenergy. Presenters from Canada, the United States, and Sweden will discuss various aspects of government policy, emerging technology, and economic and environmental sustainability.” RSVP while seats are still open. The event is from 9 am – 1 pm Wednesday, October 19th 2016, located at 700 University Avenue, Willian Peyton Hubbard Auditorium, Toronto ON M5G 1Z5. Learn more on their event page.
Curran Renewable Energy is a leading producer in wood pellets in New York. To celebrate Bioenergy Day 2016 they are opening their doors to give a tour of one of NY’s largest manufacturers. They said it best that “bioenergy helps create jobs, support local economies, and reduce our nation’s energy dependence from foreign oil to stabilize America’s energy future.” Curran’s Bioenergy Day tour will begin at 10:00am until 12:00 pm, Wednesday October 19, 2016 located at 20 Commerce Drive Massena, NY, 13662. For more information visit the event page or contact Kelli Curran at email@example.com or 315-769-2000.
The Bioenergy Technologies Office of the USDOE are developing plant-based biofuels and products which are designed to replace materials which are derived from fossil fuels. Click on image to see the flier in full size, and visit their website to learn about green industry innovations:
This is a fun approach to spreading the word! The Oak Ridge National Laboratory & the University of Tennessee are teaming up to provide an inclusive family outreach event. Everyone is getting involved – from local schools to the USFS. Big thanks to local industrial partner (Genera Energy) and Chattanooga Discovery Museum for participating and lending a helping hand!