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Grant helps Alabama university aid state biomass program

By Anna Austin | March 01, 2011

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs has provided a $56,000 grant to the University of Alabama in Huntsville so that it can continue to assist ADECA in implementing its Biomass Energy Program.

Through the program, ADECA reimburses companies up to $75,000 in loan interest payments over a maximum three-year period to install systems that use wood waste to power manufacturing processes. Eligible applicants include industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities, as well as agricultural property owners and city, county and state entities. Landfill gas projects are also eligible for funding consideration.

UAHuntsville’s role in the program has been to visit companies interested in the program to observe existing equipment and operations to determine that a conversion to a wood waste system is feasible. Once completed, university experts return to the project to ensure that the new equipment is operating properly and collect and analyze energy savings data for each project.

In 2009, UAHuntsville completed a research report on the program, which found that for every dollar spent, the timber industry saves about $60. The report also found that the program has resulted in the reduction of 21 billion MMBtu in fossil fuels and has reduced the amount of solid wood waste disposed in landfills by 312,000 tons annually.  

Since 1984, the program has assisted 46 projects in converting to wood waste to generate process heat, steam and/or power, according to UAHuntsville Research Scientist Anthony Holden. He said most of the projects were at lumber companies that were already producing wood scraps, but there have been a few unique candidates such as a chicken house.

To download an application, visit http://www.adeca.state.al.us/C16/Biomass%20Energy%20Program/default.aspx.

 

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