The second annual Washington Future Energy Conference was held in Seattle at the Washington Trade Center October 18 and 19, 2011.  This conference is put on by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and Washington Department of Commerce. The conference consisted of four concurrent sessions, with a keynote address and featured speakers, mid-morning and at lunch. This is a great opportunity to see what is going on in renewable, energy conservation and building retrofits among other topics.

The second annual Washington Future Energy Conference was held in Seattle at the Washington Trade Center October 18 and 19, 2011.  This conference is put on by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and Washington Department of Commerce. The conference consisted of four concurrent sessions, with a keynote address and featured speakers, mid-morning and at lunch. This is a great opportunity to see what is going on in renewable, energy conservation and building retrofits among other topics. Session D featured bioenergy from multiple pathways including anaerobic digestion, waste to energy, bioenergy crops, thermochemical conversion, and catalysis for fuels and chemical intermediates, and sustainable production.  Numerous other energy topics were covered on Sessions A, B and C including energy policy, integrating renewable, built environment and conservation, solar and many others.    

Folks who read and follow biochar developments may wish to review the presentations from Sessions 4.D. and 7.D.  Session 4.D was moderated by Dr. Manuel Garcia-Perez, Thermochemical Engineer at Washington State University (WSU) and featured speakers on large scale to small scale systems that are near market, and research on biochar and catalyzing fuels and industrial chemical from condenser gasses.  Catalysis was also covered in another series of presentations on Green Chemistry, Session 7.D. moderated by Dr. James Peterson, Dean of the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering, WSU.

  • The large scale system presented by Dr. Wayne Lei, Portland General Electric was for torrefaction of Arundo donax, a very prolific cane like reed grass. The torrefied biomass would be used to replace coal in a large turbine boiler. Arundo production is underway and testing of the material for boiler use will be conducted.
  • Dr. Jerry Whitfield, developer of the Whitfield pellet stove presented a small scale pyrolysis stove type appliance as a heat source for business that would additionally generate biochar. The appliance is in prototype testing. The objective is to create biochar and heat from a broad range of low cost low grade feedstocks while reducing the impacts of ground and surface water contamination from animal production such as in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Matt Smith presented research conducted at WSU focused on increasing surface area and activating biochar.  The research activity is focused on creating biochar designed for specific types of soil and industrial applications. Biochar with higher surface area and sorption capacity should have higher economic value, thus improving the economics of pyrolysis and char production.
  • Dr. Jong Wang with appointments at WSU and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA presented challenges and research on advances in catalysis processes for producing liquid fuels and higher value industrial chemical intermediates from pyrolysis, gasification and hydrolysis processes.  This presentation covered many types of catalytic processes and options for biomass conversion to fuels and basic products such as butyl rubber for tires.
  • During the Q & A Tom Miles of TRMiles Consulting provided a brief update of the 2nd Asia Pacific Biochar Conference in Kyoto, Japan held in September.

    You can access the agenda through the link below.  Click on the agenda session topic and a speaker list will pop up.  Click on the speaker name to see the presentation pdf.

    Each year we endeavor to include our friends from Canada in the conference.  Several of the topics in other sessions featured presenters from Canadian Companies.  We invite you to attend next years’ conference. 

    To provide feedback or for more information please contact Tyler Cluverius of NEBC at Tyler@nebc.org.  We would love to hear about topics and speaker suggestions you would like to see at the next conference.

    http://www.futureenergyconference.com/events/conference-agenda.php?id=7#

    –summary by Mark Fuchs, Washington Department of Ecology mfuc461@ecy.wa.gov