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A Focus on Two-Way Communication

The outreach team for the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) serves as a conduit between researchers and community stakeholders. They help transfer the science and technology of biofuels and important co-products to communities in the Northwest.

“With a focus on two-way communication, we provide an important link that brings in and includes communities,” said Vikram Yadama, assistant professor and extension specialist at Washington State University. “We provide support and communication throughout the supply chain – from feedstock availability to production, logistics, and conversion.”

The outreach group works with other NARA research groups to determine who the regional landowners are and the distribution and availability of woody biomass.

The group conducts traditional extension activities that include workshops, webinars, and newsletters, with the aim of helping communities throughout the Pacific Northwest adjust and benefit with the establishment of a biofuels-based economy.

They also help determine where facilities are located that could be modified or re-purposed for use as pre-treatment or conversion facilities. They help identify communities in (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana) for possible biorefinery and depot development by using survey and a rubric evaluation system to identify sites in every state that might serve as biorefineries or depots for aviation biofuels or co-products.

Working with community stakeholders, the NARA researchers will develop a unique strategy for economic development. Community stakeholders include representatives from a variety of groups, including community, environmental, non-profit, industry, and governmental groups.

Providing information and exchange with key governmental and industry leaders and the public:

  • Establish a communications pipeline to inform policy makers who will be making future policies on bioenergy.
  • Communicate and exchange information with groups such as the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Northwest (SAFN)
  • Communicate with economic development groups in rural communities, tribal groups, and the general public

Helping to transfer science and technology of biofuels and co-products:

  • Professional conferences and workshops.
  • Field trips and facility demonstrations
  • Web-based newsletter, an e-commerce site, and webinars, in addition to the NARA website.

“The NARA website will serve as an unbiased clearing house for technological, feedstock, business, economic, and environmental impact information relevant to promoting, building, and sustaining Pacific Northwest biorefineries,” said Yadama.