Nipissing University launches Biomass Innovation Centre

September 24, 2009
Sep. 24, 2009, North Bay, ON - North Bay is about to become a destination for information on biomass renewable heating and energy as Nipissing University launches its Biomass Innovation Centre. The centre was established in spring 2009 with financial support from Ontario’s Community Go Green Fund and Nipissing University.

Developed by the university’s School of Business and Economics, the Centre aims to provide informational resources, education, and technology transfer about biomass heating and energy to building professionals, engineers, and researchers. Biomass heating is already commonplace in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Following Europe’s lead, the Biomass Innovation Centre will help develop the infrastructure for this new industry using existing resources in forestry, commerce, and trade.

“We have an exciting opportunity to use a clean, renewable source of fuel in our backyards,” says project manager Pauline Rochefort, “so why not do all we can to develop an industry of our own making and help create jobs?” Rochefort estimates that wood pellet production can help stimulate at least 600 jobs in the region given the right circumstances.  Rochefort adds that the real advantage of the centre is its ability to join research with practical application.

At the university, Forest Bioproducts Research Chair Dr. Jeff Dech is involved in an extensive study to predict the location, quality, and quantity of biomass for viable heating and energy applications. Rochefort explains that, “Given the tremendous utility our region has for wood products, it’s evident we can develop a supply chain and work with manufacturers to bring all the necessary components of bioenergy to northern Ontario.”

The Biomass Innovation Centre is hosting its first conference, Harnessing Biomass: From the Forest to the Marketplace, on October 22-23, 2009. This two-day event will see over 400 domestic and international delegates participating alongside 60 speakers, including Ron Pernick, co-author (with Clint Wilder) of The Clean Tech Revolution.

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