Collaborative meets to discuss biomass projects

By Susanne Retka Schill
Web exclusive posted Oct. 24, 2008 at 10:17 a.m. CST

The Biorefinery Deployment Collaborative recently held its semi-annual fall meeting in western Minnesota. Members discussed a variety of topics, including the 2008 Farm Bill, American Forest & Paper Association's recent biomass workshop and an update on two renewable energy projects that received U.S. DOE grants NewPage Corp.'s Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., plant and Flambeau River Biofuels LLC in Park Falls, Wis.

Collaborative members also toured the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. facilities in Benson, Minn., to see the ethanol plant's biomass gasifer.

The Biorefinery Deployment Collaborative is a nonprofit consortium of private industries, universities and governmental agencies who are working to accelerate the deployment of technologies that produce biofuels from biomass. Members in the three-year old organization meet semi-annually and share items of interest throughout the year. Brent English, project facilitator with Wisconsin-based CleanTech Partners Inc., said the group consists of senior level executives and engineers who share information and help develop a prioritized, shared research and development program. The nonprofit doesn't fund research, but rather the members analyze new technologies and report on their technical strengths and commercial readiness to the entire group.

Currently, the organization's membership consists of 23 companies including pulp and paper manufacturers, technology developers, equipment manufacturers, contractors and builders, land-holding companies, law firms, energy providers, along with university and government interests. Three research institutions are participating: the Alabama Center for Paper and Bioresource Engineering, the North Carolina State University Department of Wood and Paper Science, and the USDA Forest Products Laboratory. Potential members can get additional information at

The next Biorefinery Deployment Collaborative meeting is tentatively scheduled to be held in Colorado in April 2009. It will include a tour of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Range Fuel Inc.'s facilities in Colorado.