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Virginia Bioenergy Conference 2013

The Virginia Bioenergy Network Annual Meeting 2013

Biomass for Energy, Economy, and Nature

Longwood University – September 10, 11 2013

The 2013 annual meeting of the Virginia Bioenergy Network (formerly VBEG) was held at Longwood University September 10 and 11th.  The meeting focused on the use of biomass for institutional scale heat and power generation, project development and financing options, current legislation and policy at the state and national level, the ecosystem services created generated from perennial biomass landscapes and a roundtable discussion on market development and Virginia biomass/bioenergy policy.  Attendees also had the opportunity to tour the Longwood University Heat plant, which has been generating hot water and heating the campus with biomass for 30 years.  The evening social at the Charley’s Waterfront Café in historic downtown Farmville featured oysters on the half shell and lump crab cakes, courtesy of FDC Enterprises, to highlight the link between energy from perennial biomass feedstocks and the Chesapeake Bay.  On Wednesday morning attendees departed Farmville for nearby Nottoway County where they toured the Piedmont Geriatric Hospitals heating plant, which has been at the forefront of the warm-season grass heating movement, the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center, a 150,000 square foot facility replacing an ageing fuel oil boiler with a new biomass heating system and then finally the FDC Enterprise/Nottoway County Warm Season Grass Aggregation and Processing Center.  Speaker’s presentations are available by following the links on the agenda below:

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    1. Opening Comments
      1. Organizers Welcome – Al Weed, Fmr. Executive Director, Public Policy Virginia
      2. Host’s Welcome – Richard Bratcher – Longwood VP Facilities and Real Property Management
      3. Biomass Energy Markets
        1. Virginia Residual Biomass – a brief overview – John Ignosh, Area Specialist, Ag Byproduct Utilization, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Cooperative Extension
        2. Using Anaerobic Digestion to Produce Renewable Energy – Jactone Arogo Ogejo, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech
        3. Thermal Conversion of Dry Feedstocks Steve Langseth, Langseth Engineering
        4. Financing Biomass Projects in Rural Areas Tucker Presentation – Laurette Tucker, USDA Rural Development
        5. AFDS Overview – Resources for Bioenergy Conversions – Stephen Versen, Project Manager for Agriculture and Forestry Development Services, VADACS
        6. State and National Legislative Roundup
          1. Virginia Biomass and Bioenergy Policy – Mitch King, Old Mill Power Company
          2. Where Does Federal Biomass Policy Stand? An update on thermal legislation and initiatives – Joseph Seymour, Biomass Thermal Energy Council
        7. Emerging Markets – Ecosystem Services
          1. Energy to Ecosystem Services – a Systems Approach – Chandler Van Voorhis, Manager Partner, GreenTrees
          2. Ecological effects of large-scale switchgrass plantings Glen Stevens, Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Science, Ferrum College
          3. Wildlife and Biomass Feedstocks from Perennial Landscapes – Bob Glennon, Private Lands Biologist, Conservation Management Institute, Virginia Tech
          4. Institutional scale demand for local biomass feedstock – a revenue source for green infrastructure? – Michael Collins, Center for Natural Capital
          5. Longwood University Heating Plant Tour

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Biomass/Bioenergy Market Development and Policy Roundtable Discussion

  1. SE Regional Woody Bionergy Inventory and Climate Implications – Virginia Briefing – John Bonitz, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
  2. Virginia Biomass Opportunities Mapping Project - Biomass Opportunity Map Project – Brian Becker, Center for Natural Capital
  3. ­Market Development and Policy Strategy Discussion – Larry Cummings, Marketing Leader, Strategic Partnerships, TRANE; Daryl Bishop, General Manager, Pepco Energy Services; Eldon James, Principal, Eldon James and Associates
  4. Biomass for the Bay Social at Charley’s Waterfront Café – Attendees enjoyed fresh Chesapeake Bay Oysters on the Half Shell, Lump Blue Crab Cakes and dinner thanks to a generous sponsorship by FDC Enterprises!

Piedmont Geriatric Hospital – LW Wilson, Building & Grounds Superintendent, Piedmont Geriatric Hospital

    • After several decades of using saw dust from local mills to heat the hospital, staff began experimenting with using processed warm season grasses, placing them at the forefront of the biomass thermal energy movement in Virginia.

Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center – Sam McCracken, Executive Director, Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center

    • The BCRC board of directors elected to replace their aging fuel oil boiler with a state-of the art flex-fuel biomass boiler to heat and generate hot water for their 150,000 square foot facility (including an indoor swimming pool!).

FDC/Nottoway County Warm Season Grass aggregation and processing center – Fred Circle, FDC Enterprises

    • FDC Enterprises and First Source Bioproducts are leaders in conservation and biofuel plantings.  FDC staff was instrumental in assisting PGH to achieve successful integration of WSG feedstocks into their handing and combustion system.  Their aggregation and processing center in Nottoway is positioned to serve landowners wishing to establish and manage warm season grasses on their land and thermal biomass energy users in the area.

The attendees list with contact information can be found here.

The full meeting program can be found here.

Thank you to all who attended or contributed to the VBN 2013 Annual meeting!  If you have any questions or would like to request additional information please contact:

Brian Becker

Program Manager for Virginia Biomass Solutions 

and the Virginia Community Wood Energy Program