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Audio Interviews

Experts in biomass thermal energy and the forest products industry share their insights in these 20-30 minutes audio segments.  Interview topics will follow trending issues in the biomass thermal market. These interviews were made possible through to a grant from the USDA Forest Service's Wood Education and Resource Center (WERC). This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

You may listen to or download the interviews and read the transcript. You may also subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes here >> or your RSS reader here >>.

The following interviews are currently available:

  1. The Austrian Example on Biomass Energy
    with Christiane Egger, Deputy Director of the Upper Austrian Renewable Energy Agency

  2. Where Private Lands meet Biomass Energy Markets
    with Mike Jostrom, Director of Renewable Resources and Steve Robe, Senior Resource Forester of Plum Creek

  3. Healthy Forests and Heating Homes – Sustainability of Biomass Energy
    with Allison Welde, Director of Conservation Partnerships and Communication at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

  4. Growing the Role of Agriculture in the Biomass Thermal Energy Supply Chain
    with Dr. Tom Richard, Director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and Environment and Professor in the University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

  5. Successful Steps in Biomass Project Finance and Development
    with John Eustermann, Partner, Stoel Rives

  6. All in the (Thermal) Family: Biomass Energy and the Family Forest Landowner
    with Scott Bagley and Harry Groot of the Center for Cooperative Forest Enterprises within the National Network of Forest Practitioners

  7. Promoting Forest Health Through Public Private Partnerships
    with Rob Davis, President and Founder of Forest Energy Corporation

  8. Real World Examples - CHP Profile - University of Missouri-Columbia
    with Gregg Coffin, Superintendent of the University of Missouri at Columbia

  9. Public Perceptions of Biomass Heating
    with John Karakash, Resource Professionals Group and John Ackerly, Alliance for Green Heat

  10. The Future of Biomass Conversion
    with Dr. Richard Bain of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

 

The Austrian Example on Biomass Energy

with Christiane Egger, Deputy Director of the Upper Austrian Renewable Energy Agency


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript

Austria serves as a great example regarding the best use of biomass for energy. The share of biomass amounts to 12% of all energy consumption in Austria, and in states like Upper Austria, biomass heating provides more than 40% of all heating needs. In this interview, Christiane Egger and Emanuel Wagner discuss Austrian biomass policies, industry, sustainability and health issues.

Christiane EggerChristiane Egger is Deputy Manager of the O.Ö. Energiesparverband, the energy agency of Upper Austria, and the manager of the Ökoenergie-Cluster, a network of 150 companies active in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Christiane is also the Vice-President of FEDARENE, the European network of regional energy and environment agencies. She is also the conference director of the World Sustainable Energy Days, one of the largest annual conferences in Europe on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. Christiane is an expert in energy efficiency in buildings, in solar and biomass heating and in dissemination and promotion of sustainable energy production and use. She holds a law degree and a post-graduate degree in environmental engineering.


 

Where Private Lands meet Biomass Energy Markets
with Mike Jostrom and Steve Robe of Plum Creek


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript

In this interview, we discuss biomass energy and the role of the private landowner. Our guests provide insight on how the nation's largest private landowner interacts with local communities, views the future of biomass energy markets, observes the potential impacts of energy policy on land use, and reflects on forest sustainability measures and standards.

Mike Jostrom Mike Jostrom is Plum Creek’s Director of Renewable Resources out of Seattle, Washington and has a company-wide role in finding opportunities to grow their business in providing renewable biomass for energy markets.

 



Steve RobeSteve Robe is a Senior Resource Forester in Maine with responsibility throughout the Northeast region in the marketing and production of biomass for energy markets.

 

 

 

 


 

Healthy Forests and Heating Homes – Sustainability of Biomass Energy
with Allison Welde of the Sustainable Forestry Intiative (SFI)


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

In this podcast, we discuss bioenergy with a focus on sustainability with our guest Allison Welde. Allison is the Director of Conservation Partnerships and Communication at SFI, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. She will answer common questions and clarify misconceptions regarding the implications of a growing market for biomass and ways to ensure that sustainable forestry can meet the rising demand.


 

Growing the Role of Agriculture in the Biomass Thermal Energy Supply Chain
with Dr. Tom Richard, Director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and Environment and Professor in the University’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

While woody biomass is seen as the dominant source of fuel for biomass thermal users, agricultural products and residues are positioned to play a greater role in powering the US’s renewable energy sector.  A 2005 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that crop residues and switchgrass from Conservation Reserve Program lands total nearly 240 million tonnes a year, or 56% of overall U.S. available biomass resources.  And as the podcast’s guest explains, the potential expanded role of the agriculture industry will involve environmental improvement measures, economic balancing, and revised land use policy.

Dr. Tom Richards

Dr. Tom Richard is the Director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and Environment and a professor in the university’s Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.  He also leads a student research group on biomass supply chains.

 

 

 


 

Successful Steps in Biomass Project Finance and Development
with John Eustermann, Partner with Stoel Rives located in the Boise, ID office


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

A combination of state and federal incentives, mandates, and private sector investment is driving development of renewable energy projects nationwide.  Yet, as the podcast’s guest explains, there is more that separates successful green energy projects from the dudds than simply greenbacks.  Establishing community relationships, feedstock logistics, and assessing often-overlooked risks can make the difference in today’s renewable energy environment.

John Eustermann

John Eustermann is a Partner with Stoel Rives located in the Boise, ID office.  Stoel Rives is a full service law firm with over 400 attorneys nationwide, and John is the leader of the company’s biomass group.  He has been listed to the Best Lawyers in America and is a frequent panelist and moderator at U.S. biomass conferences nations. 

 

 




All in the (Thermal) Family: Biomass Energy and the Family Forest Landowner
with Scott Bagley and Harry Groot of the Center for Cooperative Forest Enterprises within the National Network of Forest Practitioners


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

2011 has been designated the International Year of the Forest, and that celebration involves more than industrial-owned and public tracts; approximately 62% of private lands are tended by families and individuals. And as we will learn from our guests, small family forest land owners weigh distinct and valid considerations when entering the bioenergy markets than those made by larger businesses and the forest product industries.

Scott Bagley is the Program Director of the National Network of Forest Practitioners (NNFP) and leads the Center for Cooperative Forest Enterprises.

 

 

 

Harry GrootHarry Groot is a Forest Enterprise Consultant for the NNFP and also works for the Center for Cooperative Forest Enterprises.

 

 

 

 


Promoting Forest Health Through Public Private Partnerships
with Rob Davis, President and Founder of Forest Energy Corporation


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

Public private partnerships are helping to reduce forest fires, increase forest health, and displace fossil heating fuels.  A 2001 study by Peter Zule` estimated that when using best management practices, removing downed woody debris from the forest floor could reduce the likelihood of forest fires and substantially slow the spread of fire by roughly 75%. And as we will learn from our guest, utilizing forest products in this manner requires experience, communication, and economic insight to succeed. 

Rob Davis is President and Founder of Forest Energy Corporation.  Started in 1992, and with locations in Arizona and Colorado, Forest Energy specializes in densified biomass fuel production and distributes a line of Swedish boilers throughout the U.S.  

 


Real World Examples - CHP Profile - University of Missouri-Columbia
with Gregg Coffin, Superintendent of the University of Missouri at Columbia


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

We explore the steps and decisions of a real life facility installing a biomass combined heat and power or CHP.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CHP—which is also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source.  An estimated 500 biomass-fueled CHP plants are in operation in the US, producing over 6,600 MW.   And as we will learn from our guest, biomass CHP can help meet multiple demands, from increasing local fuel production and engaging student researchers, to reducing emissions and fossil fuel use. 

Joining us is Gregg Coffin, Superintendent of the University of Missouri Power Plant serving the University of Missouri Columbia campus.  The university is no stranger to CHP systems; it has partnerships with EPA in the Energy Star Programs, including: Green Lights and Energy Star Buildings and was recognized as System of the year by the International District Energy Association in 2004 and by the EPA with an Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award in 2010.  The university is currently constructing a dedicated biomass CHP facility on track for completion in 2012.     

 


Public Perceptions of Biomass Heating
with John Karakash, Resource Professionals Group and John Ackerly, Alliance for Green Heat


Download this Interview (right click and select 'Save Target As' to download)
Download the Transcript (not yet available)

We discuss public perceptions of biomass thermal energy, focusing specifically on attitudes towards residential heating appliances and attitudes among the professional engineering trades. 

John KarakeshJohn Karakash, Registered Forester and Manager and Founder of Resource Professionals Group.  John has worked in logging and sawmilling, taught forestry at secondary level and been active in field forestry consulting over more than 20 years.  In 2010, John co-authored a report,
Architects and Energy Professionals – The Missing Link in Wood Energy” that sought to understand factors driving decisions about HVAC equipment specification using a national on-line survey of building and energy design professionals. 

John AckerlyFor a perspective on attitudes towards residential heating with biomass is John Ackerly, the President of the not-for-profit Alliance for Green Heat, an organization promoting clean burning, efficient, affordable wood heating options.  John has 25 years of experience in advocacy and non-profit management with the International Campaign for Tibet, Public Citizen, the Center for Constitutional Rights, among others.  In 2010, the Alliance for Green Heat circulated a survey with Antioch University New England to solicit attitudes on wood heating, garnering nearly 900 responses from 37 states. 

 

 


The Future of Biomass Conversion
with Dr. Richard Bain of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)


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Download the Transcript (not yet available)

This interview targets some for of the forward looking opportunities for biomass conversion processes, namely gasification, pyrolysis, and advanced biopower.

John AckerlyRichard Bain is a Principal Engineer in the National Bioenergy Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. He has worked at NREL since 1990 and has extensive experience in the thermal conversion of biomass, municipal wastes, coal, and petroleum. He is a lead researcher in the area of production of transportation fuels and hydrogen via thermochemical conversion of biomass; technical advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on biofuels demonstrations; and Task Leader for the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Annex Biomass Gasification Task.


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