EERC partners with BBI for biomass conference in May

By | March 15, 2007
BBI International has been named a signature sponsor for Biomass '07: Power, Fuels and Chemicals, to be held May 15-16 in Grand Forks, N.D. This event is hosted by the Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), one of the world's leading developers of cleaner, more efficient energy and environmental technologies.

"This is a significant expansion of a strategic partnership between the EERC and BBI International," said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. "The combined talent, expertise and reputation provide a marvelous opportunity to enhance the use of biofuels on a global scale. We are looking forward to the continued growth this partnership will bring."

Last year, the EERC had plenty of room for its annual biomass conference at its newly expanded research, demonstration and commercialization facility in Grand Forks. The 2006 event drew more than 175 attendees from four countries to the campus of the University of North Dakota. However, this year's event is sparking even more interest, causing the EERC to move it to a larger venue across town, the Alerus Center.

This year's event will have a significant focus on biodiesel production. Chris Zygarlicke, EERC deputy associate director for research, said five speakers are slated to discuss biodiesel in a session titled, "Innovations for Biodiesel Production." Participants include National Biodiesel Board Communications Director Jenna Higgins, The Kinetic Group Managing Director and Dakota Skies Biodiesel CEO Jeremy Dockter, Archer Daniels Midland Co. Manager of New Industrial Chemicals Paul Bloom and EERC Research Engineer Josh Strege.

Mark Luther, research analyst for Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson (KLJ), will also take part in the biodiesel session, discussing the challenges and opportunities for regional biodiesel plant development. KLJ recently announced the formation of Tall Grass BioIndustries, a business unit aimed at developing regionalized biodiesel production. The group's first project is an oilseed-crushing unit and 5 MMgy biodiesel plant in southeastern North Dakota.

In a separate session, Andrew Hebard from Technology Crops International (TCI) will discuss new oil crops, the EERC said. TCI is a North Carolina-based company developing the production and processing of new crop varieties.

Other topics to be discussed at the event include trends and opportunities in utilizing biomass, renewable policies and incentives, and the development of biorefineries for chemicals and products. Kevin Kephart, vice president for research at South Dakota State University (SDSU), will discuss development of energy crops, harvest management, fertilizer needs and disease control. "SDSU is the regional lead for biomass production," Groenewold said. "Their work in this area complements the EERC's expertise in biomass utilization, creating the lead partnership for biomass production and utilization in the northern Great Plains."

Other conference sponsors include the EERC's Center for Renewable Energy, the U.S. DOE, the North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services, Xcel Energy, MDU Resources Group, Great River Energy and Otter Tail Power Company. "An event like Biomass '07 is critical for networking with other researchers and industrial partners to make these innovations a reality," Zygarlicke said.

For more information, visit www
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