SUNY Cobleskill receives grant to develop biomass gasifier – Bioenergy Insight Magazine

The State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill) has received funding to develop its biomass gasifier.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant, totalling $255,879 (€211,244), will allow the rotary gasifier to move into a new development phase.

The award was given jointly to SUNY Cobleskill, the research foundation for SUNY, and industry partner Caribou Biofuels, for the continued development and commercialisation of the inclined rotary gasifier technology that turns waste streams into biofuels, biopower, and soil supplements.

With this funding support, SUNY Cobleskill will ensure that the gasifier can be deployed anywhere globally and validate that the emissions from the gasifier are entirely neutral to environmental impact.

The patented gasifier technology is a fully automated, portable waste-to-energy system. The unit’s mobility allows it to be directly deployed to forests, farms, water treatment facilities and other areas of biomass. For almost any combustible material, it produces both gaseous and liquid fuels that are significantly higher in energy content than other similar gasification technologies, said the college.

The fuels burn ‘markedly’ cleaner than fossil fuels while reducing overall carbon emissions. The machine can produce 60 kilowatts of power a day from around two tons of feedstock, enough to power around 50 standard US homes.

“The gasifier technology is answering calls from the G7 and United Nations for advancement towards a sustainable global environment supported, in part, by alternative sources of clean energy,” said Dr Marion Terenzio, president of SUNY Cobleskill.

“With the support of the NSF and its interest in the possibilities the gasifier represents, the technology is a step closer to reaching the market and having the ecological impact that our talented team has set out to achieve.”

Initial research was funded by a joint Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense grant of $1.6 million (€1.32 million). SUNY received an additional $5.8 million (€4.78 million) grant in 2020 from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to deploy a mobile unit to complement the state’s efforts to reduce wildfires by clearing forests of fallen trees and undergrowth.

SUNY research foundation president, Jeff Cheek, commented: “There is tremendous potential for the gasifier in domestic and community use.

“The economics of this environmentally-friendly system, coupled with the ability to input very wet material without pre-sorting, is truly unparalleled. Including this gasifier as part of a company’s energy strategy will provide a real impact on our environment. We are thrilled to have such an amazing partner in Caribou Biofuels to deploy this system in New York and create jobs for the Mohawk Valley.”

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