Success in San Francisco
This past week in San Francisco, Calif., was a big success. The Pacific West Biomass Conference & Trade Show was a great event, packed with interesting presentations and a lot of new faces. And I had a few opportunities to take in some sights in a new city I had never visited before.
For me, the industry tours during the conference stood out, and not just because the day featured an amazing lunch. The kitchen staff at the Giacomini Dairy in Point Reyes, Calif., whipped up grilled cheese sandwiches for our tour group of about 20 people. Oh, but don’t let the term grilled cheese fool you. There were no American cheese singles in these sandwiches. In fact, if there was such a thing as gourmet grilled cheese, they were it, made with two different kinds of cheeses (I can’t remember their names) produced right there at the dairy, and caramelized onions.
The dairy, which has an on-site anaerobic digester that is far less smelly than expected, is known for its original blue cheese and is the only California dairy producing it. Tour participants were treated to a cheese tasting that featured the best Tuma cheese I have ever tasted.
The other tour stop was a wastewater treatment plant. No food discussion here. Staff at the Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant in Santa Rosa, Calif., guided participants around the sight, showing the water treatment process, but also the on-site aquatic biomass project that includes two anaerobic digestion tanks. The resulting biogas is fed into combustion engines to provide a portion of the plant’s electricity needs.
Intriguing and educational panel discussions followed in the next two days. This week’s Biomass Week newsletter is packed with conference coverage and the March issue of Biomass Power & Thermal will include more. My next trip will be to Denver, Colo., in April for the International Biomass Conference & Expo. It will be another new city for me and another conference agenda full of presentations I can’t wait to hear.