N.Y. funds biotech accelerator, along with pellet and AD projects

By Erin Voegele | June 02, 2015

On June 1, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced funding for the Central New York Biotech Accelerator. Separate initiatives announced by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on May 28 will support two pellet projects and an anaerobic digestion (AD) system.

Funding for the Central New York Biotech Accelerator was approved by the Empire State Board of Directors as part of $181 million in economic development assistance for 24 projects that aim to spur growth and opportunity within the state. The biotech accelerator, located in Onondaga County, was awarded $500,000.

Information released by the governor’s office indicates the Research Foundation for the State University of New York will use a grant of up to $500,000 on behalf of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to cover a portion of the costs to purchase and install instruments and equipment for use by biotech incubator tenants and various university collaborators.

The Central New York Biotech Accelerator was established in 2103. It is a facility and program built with the support and in partnership with the Research Foundation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and SUNY Upstate Medical University. The accelerator promotes the commercialization of biotech and life science technologies centered in the biomedical and biotechnology areas. To date, the project has resulted in the opening of two of three potential floors of incubator space, including lab and office suites, with a capacity of up to 15 startups.

NYSERDA announced the two pellet projects and an AD system as part of launch of eight projects throughout the North Country designed to serve as innovative models that decrease energy costs, create jobs, reduce waste or generate clean energy power.

The AD project, located in the Lake Placid area, will include the installation of a small-scale waste bio-digester that converts food waste into biogas used to generate electricity. NYSERDA estimates schools, restaurants and businesses in the region will divert 900 tons of food waste from the landfill annually, saving the town $68,000 per year and creating enough power for 27 homes.

"Lake Placid is proud of its commitment to environmental preservation,” said Roby Politi, town supervisor of North Elba. “We are also thankful to volunteer Tammy Morgan and the Adirondack North Country Association for their vigorous efforts to secure funding for a new anaerobic digester. This important technology will divert restaurant and community food wastes from our landfill to a source of renewable energy and growing composites for agricultural uses. Another step to a better living environment."

One of the two pellet projects is located in Stockholm and will convert the town garage heating system from oil to high-efficiency, low-emission wood pellets. Under the second pellet project, the Northern Forest Center will work with communities across the North Country to promote conversions to wood pellets.

“A SUNY Canton student-led analysis of the community’s buildings led to this project to install a wood pellet biomass heating system in the Stockholm town garage, which will save the town 2,000 gallons a year of fuel oil costs,” said Robin McClellan, coordinator for the Stockholm wood pellet project.

"The Northern Forest Center is delighted to receive CGC funding, which significantly advances our biomass heating efforts in northern New York in addition to our biomass heating advocacy across northern Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,” said Maura Adams, program director of the Northern Forest Center.