PORTLAND, Ore. September
28, 2011. A recently awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
grant will help launch a viable, sustainable biofuels industry
in the Pacific Northwest. The $40 million grant to Washington State
University, announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack,
will help the Nation develop renewable energy resources from forest
byproducts such as wood chips and sawdust.
Washington State University
has formed a partnership, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance
(NARA), that includes scientists from
the Forest Service and other government laboratories, public universities,
and private industry throughout the Northwest. Four teams will
conduct research on feedstocks, conversion, systems metrics, and
A separate $40 million grant, announced at the same
time, went to the University of Washington and its partners to
commercial production of bio-based fuels using plantation-grown
poplars as feedstock.
Eini Lowell, a research forest products technologist
at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station,
is a member of the outreach and extension team. The team plans to
in each of the four states that comprise the NARA project (Idaho,
Oregon, Montana, and Washington) for possible development of biorefineries.
The team will serve as a conduit between researchers and community
stakeholders, helping to transfer the science and technology of biofuels
and important co-products to economic development in Northwest communities.
Our team believes in participatory planning and technology development
to help build the biofuel industry in the Northwest,” said
Lowell. “I’ll be working on increasing public awareness
and engagement activities to work for consensus among local communities
whose livelihood is dependent on woody biomass.”
the team will also, among other tasks, survey community stakeholders
to strategically select three to four test-bed sites
for studying the viability of a biofuel-based infrastructure.
This project is important because it provides a perfect opportunity
to address several critical issues, from decreasing the Nation’s
dependency on petroleum products to promoting resiliency and economic
stability in forest-based communities,” said Lowell.
will be conducting traditional extension activities, including
providing workshops, Webinars, and newsletters, with the aim of
communities and companies throughout the Pacific Northwest determine
their role in building sustainable biofuels infrastructure and
to move toward the establishment of a biofuels-based economy.
same time, NARA researchers will be forming regional alliances,
identifying communities that might fit into the supply chain for
a sustainable biofuels economy.
The outreach and extension team will:
Provide information and exchange
with key governmental and industry leaders and the public
• Establish a communications pipeline to inform policymakers
who will be developing future policies on bioenergy.
• Communicate and exchange information with groups such as Sustainable
Aviation Fuel Northwest.
• Communicate with economic development groups in rural communities,
tribal groups, and the general public.
Help to transfer science
and technology of biofuels and co-products
• Professional conferences and workshops.
• Field trips and facility demonstrations.
• Web-based newsletter, an e-commerce site, and Webinars, in addition
to the NARA Web site.
More information about NARA, its work, and its partners is available
Note to Reporters—Pictures and a biography of Lowell are
available upon request.
The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon,
and Washington and about 425 employees.