EERC hosts biomass technical workshop

By Suzanne Schmidt
Web exclusive posted July 16, 2008 at 3:47 p.m. CST

The Biomass '08 Technical Workshop, sponsored by the Energy & Environmental Research Center, highlighted power, fuels and chemicals in the biomass process. The sixth annual workshop was held July 15-16 in Grand Forks, N.D. This year, the conference hosted nearly 40 speakers covering a variety of topics including loan environment, renewable jet fuels, types of feedstocks, heat and electricity concerns and biomass market trends.

More than 300 people from 30 states and six countries attended the two day event. This year's attendees represent more than 175 organizations, the majority from private industry. The conference was opened by EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. "The response to this year's workshop parallels the mind-set around the world: that there is a tremendous upsurge in interest in developing energy, transportation fuels, and chemicals from biomass," Groenewold said. "This workshop is designed to maximize interaction on all topics concerning biomass."

The keynote speaker for the event was North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, who addressed the "power of North Dakota," and how the state has many different avenues of exploration in renewable energies. One of North Dakota's goals is to help the country become less reliant on energy sources from other countries, Hoeven said.

"By any number of measures, our potential to create perennial crops and other biomass resources for energy production ranks at or near the top of the United States," Hoeven said. "North Dakota's role will grow increasingly more important as we continue to develop more feedstocks for the ethanol and biodiesel industries and more applications for other forms of biomass energy production, as well."

Although the event was hosted in North Dakota, the conference also highlighted topics such as global influence in the developments of biomass, financial considerations and different methods to produce biomass.