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February Meeting Notes

February 12, 2002


1) BEDCO + Bio-oil from woodchips

2) Light switch stickers

3) Vending Miser

4) Website

1) BEDCO + Bio-oil from woodchips

This presentation by Kevin Evans, the college forester, and 4 members of BEDCO (Business Enterprise Development Corporation) took the bulk of the meeting time. BEDCO is planning to build a factory to convert woodchips to bio-oil, and is looking to Dartmouth to be a possible supplier of woodchips, consumer of the oil, co-developer, or research partner. I'll try to briefly summarize the presentation below:

Bio-Oil: It's produced from woodchips, is renewable, transportable, and can be produced locally. When burned, it produces no SOx, less NOx then oil, and few particulates. The process BEDCO will use to produce it is called fast pyrolosys, and is a proven and reliable technology. Production facilities are also easily scaleable, so they can start small and grow as needed.

Woodchips: A large percent of the college grant is low-grade wood that can't be used for lumbar. 80% of this pulpwood used to go to American Pulp + Paper, which is now closed. This situation is similar across the state, where there will be even less demand for woodchips when the remaining wood fired power plants close down.

BEDCO: This company's mission is to strengthen and diversify the economy of New Hampshire by developing and managing local resources and creating prosperity. They see bio-oil as a way to use New Hampshire's resources wisely and strengthen its economy.

DynaMotive: This is the company BEDCO will contract to construct the facility. They are located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and are currently constructing a facility in England that is of similar size to this proposed facility. They are also currently running several smaller facilities successfully.

Location: BEDCO proposes to build this facility in Whitefield's Eco-Industrial Park. There is already a wood burning facility there, which has excess wood handling capacity, which will reduce costs. The bio-oil plant will also be able to use electricity from the plant, further reducing costs and helping keep the power plant in business. (they could get e- for 4.5c, which is less then the market rate of 6c, and more then what the plant now sells it for at 2.5c)

Numbers: The proposal is for a plant that would use 100 dry tons of woodchips per day to produce 4 million gallons of bio-oil per year. Capital cost is $12m, operating costs 4-5m/yr. Assuming a 100% debt finance over 15 years at 7%, electricity at 6c, and no subsidies, this size plant will be able to sell bio-oil at .67c/gallon. Because bio-oil has only 2/3 the heating value of oil, this price is competitive with oil at $1/gallon. According to John Gratiot, Dartmouth current pays around 52c for #6 oil and in the mid 80's for #2. The plant will take 18-24 months to construct from the start of the contract.

Dartmouth's Role: BEDCO outlined 4 ways Dartmouth could get involved with this project. 1) as a supplier of woodchips from the grant. 2) as a purchaser of the oil either to supplement the #6 oil we burn in our heating plant, or as a substitute to the #2 oil we burn in the 100's of houses the college owns. 3) as a co-developer and researcher. 4) as a partner/investor in the project, doing all of the above 3. Benefits outlined by BEDCO were: the use of a green fuel, self-sufficiency, and Dartmouth's leadership in forest management. Dartmouth would also fit this project well because of our need for fuel and our capacity to help with fuel supply, research, and financing.

Concerns brought up at the meeting:

  • a) The projected cost of the fuel is more then we currently pay
  • b) Storage: we'd need another tank on campus to store the fuel.
  • c) Environmental issues - there was some concern about waste water from the production facility, and also the affect of the increased acidity on our current plant

2) Light switch stickers

Jim Leech brought revised samples. Concerns were brought up about defacing the finger, the use of the same color green as the existing light switch stickers, and the issue of what to do when painting the rooms. Fortunately, we have a sticker that can be scraped off reasonably easily, or painters can paint around them.

We decided to go ahead and order 1,000 stickers as a test to see about defacing and effectiveness.

3) Vending Miser (energy reducers for vending machines)

Bill Hochstin and Greg Husband currently have a meeting set with coke representative Mark Fitzgerald this Friday at noon. Concerns were raised about the current wiring problem with machines that take ID cards. These machines need to be rewired to accept the vending misers. However, it was noted that these machines should be rewired anyway, as the current wiring causes problems even without the vending miser. It was agreed that representatives from the Dartmouth card and DDS should also meet with Bill and the Coke people.

4) Website

There was no time to discus this, but since I'd like it to go up before the March meeting, I will describe it here, and people can blitz me with suggestions.

I am designing 2 pages: 1 specifically for the RWG and one that will be Dartmouth's Environmental Homepage. The homepage will serve as a central link to all the environmental groups on campus, and will contain information that is relevant to the whole campus. The bulk of this homepage will be links to various areas of environmental concern (Recycling, Composting, Energy Conservation, Purchasing, Water, Transportation, Green Building, Heating, Hazardous Materials, Reducing, and Activism). A link to each of these areas will go to a page that will first have general info about that area (like what we recycle at Dartmouth, and where the bins are), and also have links to stats, policies, contacts, and "how to get more involved". In addition, the homepage will have links to pages for the various constituents at Dartmouth (Perspective/Incoming, Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty/Admin/Staff) which will have info specific to them; and links to environmental events, and how to find your ECO rep.

The RWG page will contain: a description of the group, a membership list, current and past meeting notes, accomplishments (annual report), current projects, and a list of department ECO reps.

So blitz me if you think something should be changed, re-organized, or added. I'll try to get this up as soon as possible, and we can discuss it at the next meeting and make changes as necessary.

Last Updated: 1/14/09