Thursday, July 15, 2010

Renewable Energy Alchemy

Let me tell you about the wonderful opportunity I had recently, where I spent the day with the SUNY Oswego Energy Institute. This past Tuesday, students in the summer Energy Institute took part in an engaging, day-long training at the Renewable Energy Training Center at SUNY Morrisville.

Fifteen students attended the training which began with an overview of the facility and the various training programs offered. The attendees spent the morning exploring fundamentals of wood gasification and then created their own wood gasification “stove”. Here’s an example on YouTube that is similar.

The afternoon was spent gaining exposure to the RETC’s small anaerobic digester, producing methane currently from a couple of apples that have been digesting for several months. We then took a short field trip to a more macro-example in the form of the large scale anaerobic digester linked to a 270 head dairy operation producing energy from the digestion of the dairy waste stream.

It was a very instructive day for the Energy Institute students, and led to considerable discussion on the ride home for the practicalities, and possibilities of other renewable energy projects.

Thanks much to Ben Ballard for the opportunity to see all that the RETC has to offer!

-Thad Mantaro, SUNY Oswego

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