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Wood Energy Conference to focus on biomass technologies


The Alaska Wood Energy Conference, April 11-12 in Ketchikan, will highlight biomass technologies and issues related to heating with firewood.

Organizer Karen Petersen said the conference is for anyone who is interested in wood energy, including tribal entities and elected officials considering the use of biomass to heat community facilities. The conference will take place at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

Petersen said participants will hear about wood-fired systems that create electricity and hot water heat. The combined heat and power technology is popular in Finland, and the Fairbanks North Star Borough will use it as a demonstration project.

“We’re pretty excited about this technology, and we hope it will provide a solution for some of our rural communities,” said Petersen, a Cooperative Extension Service agent who chairs a wood energy development group for the Alaska Energy Authority.

Featured speakers will include Dylan Kruse, the policy director for Sustainable Northwest, and Thomas Butcher, a research engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Kruse will talk about biomass policy, and Butcher will discuss biomass and air quality. Other topics will include biomass harvesting and production, Canadian biomass projects and policies, carbon credits, case studies of existing biomass operations and a new Alaska handbook on using biomass to heat greenhouses.

John Siegenthaler will offer an eight-hour workshop on designing and maintaining hydronic systems for wood-burning boilers from 1 to 9 p.m on the final day of the conference. Continuing education credits are available. Optional conference activities will include a tour of biomass-heated greenhouses on Prince of Wales Island on April 13.

Conference details and registration information are available at www.uaf.edu/ces/nrcd/awec. Co-sponsors include the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, Alaska Energy Authority and the U.S. Forest Service. For more information, contact Petersen at khpetersen@alaska.edu or at 907-821-2681.


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