ARC awards $1.5 million to support biorefinery center at ASC

By Erin Voegele | June 16, 2017

The Appalachian Regional Commission recently awarded a $1.5 million grant to New York-based Alfred State College to support its Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center project, which aims to help private and public partners leverage wood resources to create sustainable business using advanced manufacturing processes.

The award was part of $15.7 million in grants made to 18 projects by the APC in mid-June. The projects aim to help grow the economies in coal-impacted communities in seven Appalachian states. The awards were made through ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative (POWER), a congressionally funded multi-agency strategy bringing federal resources directly to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.

According to information released by the ARC, the BDCC is a prototype facility that will develop and commercialize a process that extracts valuable chemical assets from wood and uses them to manufacture basic commodities and advanced materials, energy and biofuels. The facility will be used by ASC, The State University of New York, universities from other ARC states, and private-sector bioenergy and biochemical companies. ARC also indicated ASC and its network will also provide training and technical services to coal-impacted companies as they seek to enter new markets, diversify their manufacturing base and adapt their workforce. The facility is expected to contribute to the creation of 15 new businesses and help 125 workers gain skills or retain or gain employment.

“This is great news for Alfred State and the entire Southern Tier. This federal investment will help bring 15 new businesses and 125 good paying pay jobs to the Southern Tier and push this region’s economy into the future,” said Sen Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.  “The work done at BDCC will help create a ‘New Forest Economy’ by working with local partners and using the region’s abundant natural resources to spur long term economic development. I will fight tooth and nail to make sure Alfred State College continues to have the resources it needs to leverage the region’s workforce and grow private enterprise.”

“Alfred State College knows the ARC funding for the BDCC project will have high impact by supporting equipment, training and developing a network across the ARC region. Developing the proven Hot Water Extraction process in the BDCC will allow Alfred State to lead in the biorefining development and training in the region through the partners in the network,” said Craig R. Clark, vice president for economic development at ASC.

“This award is a blueprint for new jobs, fresh opportunities, and a robust economic future for New York’s Southern Tier,” said ARC Federal Cochairman Earl F. Gohl.  “It is part of a strategy to bring added capital into the Region, and help the region prepare to globally compete in manufacturing, technology, construction, and a variety of other industry sectors.”