National Bioenergy Day: Spotlight on Biomass

By Bob Cleaves | October 25, 2013

Oct. 17 marked the first-ever National Bioenergy Day. On and around that day, 24 events were held in 13 states—and one in Canada—to raise awareness about biomass and the larger bioenergy industry. We were honored that Biomass Magazine sponsored the initiative alongside Biomass Power Association, in addition to Biomass Thermal Energy Council, American Council on Renewable Energy, Pellet Fuels Institute, Forest Landowners Association and U.S. Industrial Pellet Association.

In planning National Bioenergy Day, we wanted the focus to be on the role bioenergy plays in communities. The goal was to bring audiences, ideally people who benefit from bioenergy, to biomass facilities to witness firsthand what goes on.

National Bioenergy Day activities drew in audiences from academia, government, media, and local communities. Visitors were able to learn about biomass electricity production, small-scale thermal heating, pellet manufacturing, managed forestry and the carbon cycle. They listened to lectures at universities and saw an anaerobic digester at work.

I attended ReEnergy Holdings’ event at its Livermore Falls facility in Maine, where elected officials joined local residents for a tour of the facility and a presentation on the benefits of biomass. I’d like to highlight a few more National Bioenergy Day events:

• New York Biomass Energy Alliance facilitated a day-long event in northern New York where guests could visit a school district that is using woodchips for heating to save $110,000 per year, a 22 MW biomass facility, a shrub willow farm, and a wood pellet manufacturer. 

• In Michigan, the state biomass trade association joined forces with timbermen and forest products associations to hold a two-day event for visitors to tour a biomass facility, a forest products manufacturer, and a timber harvest/chipping operation.

• A whistle-stop tour in the Southeast took a biomass digester to several college campuses in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia to demonstrate small-scale heat and energy production.

Additional events were held in California, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Mississippi, Connecticut and Oregon. 

National Bioenergy Day was an event that truly showcased our industry, and the environmental and economic benefits it provides across America. We look forward to an even larger and more comprehensive National Bioenergy Day 2014.

Author: Bob Cleaves
President and CEO, Biomass Power Association
[email protected]