EventCoverage Bio-Initiative Washington’s commissioner of public lands announces aviation biofuel project during biomass conference keynote. Peter Goldmark, commissioner of Public Lands for the Washington Department of Natural Resources, kicked off the Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show REFUELING Jan. 11 in Seattle by WITH BIOMASS: announcing phase two Goldmark of his Forest Biomass announced a bill to build an aviation Initiative. biofuel pilot facility Goldmark said he that would use planned to roll out a bill biomass from state for an aviation biofuel trust lands and help clean up emissions pilot facility. The project from a growing will use biomass from aviation industry. state trust lands and help clean up emissions from an industry that continues to grow exponentially. “There’s ample market here, folks,” he said, citing increased numbers of airline passengers and amounts of fuel used. The bill will not only establish an aviation biofuel pilot facility, but will mobilize stakeholders in developing a woody biomass supply chain. Phase one of the initiative involved the establishment of four pilot projects, two of which have been successful. One is a combined-heat-and-power plant at the Port Angeles Nippon paper mill and the other, in Borgford, produces wood oil through pyrolysis. The others hit insurmountable challenges and are not proceeding, Goldmark said. The initiative was launched with multiple goals in mind including job creation and clean energy production. Goldmark also took advantage of the opportunity to announce a supply study by Washington State University. “It will help landowners realize how much they can use sustainably,” he said. “And I say that word ‘sustainably’ over and over again.” —Lisa Gibson
LEARNING CURVE: Schwartz (left to right), Costello, Claiborn and Hardcastle discussed the importance of preparing an educated workforce for the growing renewable energy industry.
Bioenergy Basics Colleges and universities need to prepare students for employment in the renewable energy industry. The handwriting is on the wall for renew- ton State University on a project aimed at anable energy, and the message indicates that the aerobic digester operational and maintenance clean energy industry is in need of employees skills. “A lot of students say they want to be in renewable energy without having an idea of with a strong understanding of sustainable what that means,” Costello said. The certificate energy, according to Alan Hardcastle, senior research associate at Washington State Univer- program will help students gain a better, more applicable knowledge of what sustainable sity. energy means. Hardcastle and the other speakers who Like Costello, Daniel Schwartz, the formed a panel, titled Higher Education as director of the bioresource-based energy for Industry Catalyst: Bioenergy Education in sustainable societies interdisciplinary doctoral the Pacific West, suggested that while the bioenergy economy is growing, the labor force program at the University of Washington, is needed for the industry may be falling behind. working with students to develop bioenergy“There is a concern that there is a lack of related skills. Schwartz has started a doctoral program for students that could be similar to a renewable education at all levels,” Hardcastle biomass consulting company. During one projsaid, and employers are starting to voice that concern. Several renewable energy companies ect, the students performed feasibility studies on sourcing biomass for a cogeneration facility and other organizations are making an effort that would use wood waste. The group also to become more sustainable and that has performed biomass assessments and biomass created a “green” skill set he called the new cost estimations during the project. basics. “A green job may require more skills Candis Claiborn, dean of the college of and an understanding of knowing what is engineering and architecture at Washington going on in clean renewable energy and this will be an important trend in our universities,” State, explained the university’s efforts to develop students capable of working at an he said. Fortunately, educational facilities will benefit from the new skill set required by some integrated biorefinery. The program includes work on fungal catalyst development, algal bioemployers. mass, feedstock pretreatment, thermochemiRob Costello, the dean for trades and cal conversion approaches and several other technology at Bellingham Technical Colbiorefinery-specific areas. Claiborn also said lege, spoke about a new sustainable energy the school has instituted an entrepreneurcertificate offered to all students. Technicians in-residence program that helps students will leave the program with an enhanced skill developing innovative products or processes set in sustainable energy that includes the fundamentals of sustainable energy along with to meet other entrepreneurs in the community, all of which will help the bioenergy industry an understanding of various technologies, he said. The school has partnered with Washing- grow. —Luke Geiver
16 BIOMASS POWER & THERMAL | MARCH 2011
March 2011 Biomass Power & Thermal