University of Vermont

Renewable BioEnergy Program 

Hands on in: Wood; Grass; Biodiesel - waste vegetable oil-based, oil seed crops-based, home heating oil; Ethanol; Algae biofuel; Transportation Fuels - on road & aviation; Biofuels Sustainability, Economics, Social, Policy aspects... Check out the registration info for next spring or fall version of Biomass to Biofuels Course and contact the lead instructor for any related information.

    BIOMASS TO BIOFUELS COURSE - Topics Covered

  • For more information about the following topics covered in the Biomass to Biofuels Course, contact the Lead Instructor, Anju Dahiya. She gratefully acknowledges support from the organizations and individuals listed below.
    (Notes: the links below open up in a new window;
     the respective instructors/experts* depending on their time availability)
  • description of image COURSE OVERVIEW & BIOMASS TO BIOFUELS EXPERTS SESSION
  • * Anju Dahiya, Ph.D., Biofuels Lead Instructor, Continuing Education, Rubeinstein School, University of Vermont; Principal, General Systems Research LLC
    * Matt Cota, Executive Director, Vermont Fuels Dealers Association
    * Adam Sherman, Program manager & Fuel Supply Expert, Biomass Energy resource Center, Montpelier VT

     


  • description of image WOOD BIOMASS ENERGY
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Adam Sherman, Program manager & Fuel Supply Expert, Biomass Energy resource Center, Montpelier VT
    * Ralph Tursini, Coordinator The Green Forestry Education Initiative - Wood Biomass Field day.
    * Roel Boumans, Ph.D. Fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Former Research Associate Professor, UVM

    Compared to wood burning in the first half of the last century heating with wood today is dramatically different and better in every way. The efficiency of the average woodstove has roughly doubled to about 70 percent and does not produce the dense plumes of blue-gray smoke anymore. Chimney technology and safety have improved. Recognized standards for virtually every appliance type and component have been developed and adopted into building code legislation. Within the present discussion about our energy future, wood heating is virtually nonexistent. Wood burning is most often identified as a pollution problem to be solved rather than as an opportunity to be harvested. So, despite the fact that millions of families burn wood at home, its role as an energy source seems rarely to appear in the public debate. Exploration of the Wood bio fuel session will discuss the levels and methodologies that producers and consumers of fuel wood have access to for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and managing a forest sustainable. On campus and field trips.
    Background Info: Green Forestry

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  • description of imageGRASS ENERGY
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Sid Bosworth, Ph.D., Extension Associate Professor (Agronomist and Instructor), Plant and Soil Science Department, UVM
  • * Guest experts from the Grass Energy Industry
    In the Grass Biomass Energy session, we will be looking at the benefits,challenges and various uses of grass biomass utilized for energy including thermal, gasification and cellulosic ethanol. You will be able to look at and learn to identify the major warm and cool season grasses used for biomass, collect samples for biomass yield, and process and convert switchgrass hay into pellets. There will be a grass energy field trip following the on-campus class. Check out:
    Background Info: Grass Energy

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  • description of imageBIODIESEL
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Heather Darby, Ph.D. Adjunct Extension Assistant Professor, UVM
    * Scott Gordon, Ph.D., Founder Green Technologies Inc. and Former Professor, Chemistry Dept. UVM

    * Other guest experts from the biodiesel industry.
    This class will include follwoing two parts:
    A. OIL SEED-BASED BIODIESEL
    Oilseed Crop Production for New England
    Crops to Oil to Biofuel in the Real World.
    Topics will range from:
    Oilseed crops suitable for New England Production; Oilseed crop production pr actices to maximize oilseed and oil quantity; Oil extraction; Co-products (oilseed meal) and best uses for the farming community; Observe oilseed crops growing in real world setting. Observe oilseeed crop experiments including seed rate, fertility trials, planting date trials, and variety trials; Observe oil extraction and compare oilseed presses; Observe on-farm fuel production; Visit with farmers and gather more practical application for small scale fuel production.
    Background Info: Oilseed Crops
    B. WASTE OIL TO BIODIESEL
    Both in class lecture and in lab sessions

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  • biogas BIOGAS & BIO-ELECTRICITY
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Guy Roberts, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Avatar Energy, LLC, Vermont.
    * David Dunn, Green Mountain Power, VT. - Cow Power Farms tour by
    * Guest expert talk by Andre Wright, Ph.D., Chair & Professor, Animal Science Department, University of Vermont
    Waste biomass currently gets landfilled or sometimes composted. Anaerobic digestion of this biomass can produce a fuel gas that can run generators and be used for heating. The digestion by-products often have significant value as fertilizer, soil amendments and fibrous pulp. Digestion, a first step in reclaiming energy from garbage and waste, may become a standard feature on farms, institutions and possibly even residences. Despite being a technology that is hundreds of years old, there is much room for improvement. Through this course take a look at the current understanding of the biology and engineering behind this growth industry including small and large scale anerobic digesters.
    Background Info: Cow Power

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  • description of image ALGAE BIOFUEL
  •  * Anju Dahiya, Ph.D., Lead Instructor & Algae biofuel expert, University of Vermont; President, General Systems Research LLC
    This class will include:
    o overview of algae biofuels;
    o relevance to northeast and Vermont;
    o related issues;
    o lab and related field experience.
    Algae as biofuel feedstock provides an attractive alternative option because algae doesn€™t compete with food, land and water resources; the algae fuel yield is estimated multi-fold higher than other biofuel sources; besides as a regular transportation fuel, the algae fuel is suitable as jet fuel; ensures a continuous supply; manage farm nutrients runoff, and treat wastewater.
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  • description of image INTEGRATED SUSTAINABILITYASSESSMENTS OF BIOFUELS
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Eric Garza, Ph.D. Lecturer, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, UVM
    * Bob Parsons, Ph.D. Extension Ag Economist - Professor, Extension/Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, UVM
    * Roel Boumans, Ph.D. Fellow, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Former Research Associate Professor, UVM

    This class will include:
    Identifying critical components and stakeholders of biofuel systems
    Building Criteria and Indicator (C&I) frameworks for integrated sustainability assessments of biofuel systems;
    Applying Multi-Criteria Analysis tools to operationalize C&I frameworks in participatory sustainability assessments with case studies
    Other sustainability related aspects

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  • description of image ECONOMICS OF BIOFUELS
  • Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Jon Erickson, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, The Rubenstein School, University of Vermont
    * Bob Parsons, Ph.D. Extension Ag Economist - Professor, Extension/Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, UVM
    This class will include:
    Economics of Food vs. Fuel
    Biofuels from Ecological Economics perspectives

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  • description of image MATERIAL AND ENERGY FLOWS IN COMBINED FOOD-ENERGY SYSTEMS FOR DESIGNING APPROPRIATE AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES
    Introduction by Anju Dahiya
  • *Samuel M. Gorton, I.E. The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College Gund Institute for Ecological Economics
    Price spikes in oilseed and starch crops have demonstrated, biofuels processes are highly intertwined with the food system. In addition to demanding agricultural materials, conventional biofuels production also requires significant amounts of fossil fuel energy. In the case of biodiesel production, fossil fuel inputs are required for crop cultivation, harvesting and transportation (petroleum) as well as in processing (electricity from the grid and thermal energy from natural gas). Recent work has suggested that co-location of biodiesel production with anaerobic digestion processes might reduce fossil fuel inputs for electricity and heat while providing nearby markets for animal feed, glycerol and biodiesel products. Thus a dairy farming community might reduce the rate of external inputs flowing into its boundaries, producing a large portion of its own energy and feed while generating milk for export to outside markets. This lesson will offer an understanding of the dynamics of material and energy demands for different components of the food system. With this knowledge, opportunities to incorporate small-scale, appropriate renewable energy processes at farm and/or landscape scales might be elucidated.

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  • description of image ENGINEERING AND BIOFUELS
    Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Mary J. Dunlop, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, UVM
    * Robert G. Jenkins Ph.D., Professor, CEng, School of Engineering, UVM.

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  • description of image TRANSPORTATION AND BIOFUELS
    Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Jonathan Dowds, Research Specialist, Transportation Dept., UVM Biofuels for on-ground transportation
    * Richard Altman, Executive Director Emeritus, Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative, Aviation biofuels feedstocks, Jet fuel extraction, Fuel standards.

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  • description of image BUSINESS AND BIOFUELS
    Introduction by Anju Dahiya
    * Rocki-Lee DeWitt, Ph.D. Professor of Management, Sustainability Fellow, 1st cohort, Food Systems Spire Steering Committee, School of Business Administration, University of Vermont
    * Businesses & Farms involved in other parts of the course

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  • image CONCLUDING REMARKS & AN OPTIONAL PANEL
    by the Lead Instructor, Anju Dahiya
    * Available instructors or guest speakers

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

Last modified November 11 2013 12:30 AM