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10-21-2015

Clarkson University Hosting Events to Celebrate National Bioenergy Day Oct. 29

Clarkson University is again taking a leadership role in the promotion of bioenergy throughout the region by celebrating the third annual National Bioenergy Day on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Sue PowersClarkson’s bioenergy event this year will focus on anaerobic digestion as a means of transforming organic waste materials to manage waste streams by transforming this waste into biogas for electricity and heat energy generation.

The goal for the day is to encourage more communities, institutions and small farms to consider the advantages of implementing a digester for their organic waste management and energy generation needs.

Bioenergy Day extends a long history of research and outreach, led by Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Stefan Grimberg, which has established lower cost and technically effective digesters for use in the northern New York region.  These efforts have included teams of interdisciplinary faculty and students.

"This national event is a great showcase for the University’s activities by providing a platform to discuss emerging bioenergy technologies and systems with a diverse audience," said Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems Susan E. Powers, interim director of Clarkson's Institute for a Sustainable Environment. "Faculty, students, community members, waste and energy professionals, farmers and more are encouraged to attend."

Clarkson Bioenergy Day includes events on campus and at the Cornell Cooperative extension farm in Canton, N.Y.

The day will start with a workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. entitled, "Improving Options for North Country Dairy Farms: Digester Technology for Farms with Fewer Than 300 Cows," which will show that implementing digesters on small dairy farms is feasible. This workshop, located at 2043B State Highway 68 in Canton, N.Y., will highlight recent research funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and conducted by Clarkson faculty with cooperation from the Cornell Cooperative Extension in St. Lawrence County.

People interested in attending the workshop must register by emailing stlawrence@cornell.edu.

The celebration will continue with a showcase of bioenergy projects in the region, including the new food waste digester in Lake Placid, N.Y.  A poster display of bioenergy projects and a panel discussion describing specific opportunities for integrating organic wastes into digester systems will be presented from 3 to 5 p.m. in Clarkson's Cheel Campus Center Barben Rooms (#12 on the map at http://www.clarkson.edu/about/clarkson_map.pdf). Panelists include digester consulting firms describing successful projects for food waste and wastewater sludge digesters.

"Bioenergy is an important aspect of a sustainable and resilient North Country," Powers said. "Between organic wastes and wood from sustainable forest management, we have the opportunity to generate a significant fraction of our own heating and electricity needs within our region. Promoting this industry can help in our regional efforts to become more resilient to climate changes or other interruptions of our energy, water and food systems."

Clarkson University President Tony Collins will use the Bioenergy Day event to pledge the campus to a new Climate Commitment that extends the University's current pledge to reduce carbon emissions to also consider resilience and adaptation in its curriculum, research and campus operations. Collins will be among the first university presidents in the country to extend a climate commitment to include resilience.

The events at Clarkson are sponsored by its Institute for a Sustainable Environment. For further information, contact Powers at sep@clarkson.edu .

The third National Bioenergy Day includes more than 60 separate events across the country. For more information about the national recognition of bioenergy, visit http://bioenergyday.com/events/ .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Spence Professor in Sustainable Environmental Systems Susan E. Powers, interim director of Clarkson University's Institute for a Sustainable Environment, shows the inside of the anaerobic digester at Clarkson University to visitors on National Bioenergy Day in 2013.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/anaerobic-digester.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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