SREF Staff Visits University of Tennessee's "Biomass Field Day"

SREF is working with the Southeast Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) project, which includes real-world solutions for developing economically and environmentally sustainable production and conversion of biomass-to-biofuel in the southeast. SREF staff is helping to coordinate the Extension aspects of the IBSS project to promote the biofuels industry and more specifically promote woody biomass as a feedstock for energy. The larger project is focused on all aspects of the biofuels industry, from growing biomass crops (or using trees), to conversion technologies, to developing the personnel needed for this work. 

As part of this project, staff recently attended the University of Tennessee’s “Biomass Field Day” in Vonore, TN, which is just south of Knoxville, to learn more about biomass and see demonstrations. The first day was held in a local farmers ‘switchgrass’ field. Switchgrass is one of the biofuel feedstocks being promoted by the University of Tennessee and the Southeast IBSS group. Farmers, landowners, Extension professionals and university researchers attended this event, as well as a few schoolchildren. In addition to learning more about switchgrass, presentations included information on woody biomass storage, transportation and processing.  Auburn University’s portable processing truck was on site to demonstrate biofuel conversion technologies and to power AV equipment. Attendees were also treated to a demonstration of different types of tractors, balers, mulchers, etc. The second day was held at a Dow biofuels conversion test facility. The purpose of this facility is to test new biomass to biofuel conversion processes before they can be implemented commercially. There were additional presentations on transportation and storage logistics for all types of biomass as well as presentations discussing some of the challenges of converting biomass to liquid fuels.

If interested in learning more about the IBSS project, please contact Leslie Boby at lboby@sref.info.

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