Clearwater Basin Bioenergy Assessment Project
Bio-IDeX: mapping regional assets and examining the roles that particular regions play in the emerging biofuels economy
Identifying and engaging communities along the biomass to biofuel supply chain is a critical component of NARA. Faculty and students from Washington State University's Integrated Design Experience (IDeX) and the University of Idaho's Bioregional Planning and Community Design Program (BIOP) (Bio-IDeX for short) are mapping regional assets and examining the roles that particular regions play in the emerging biofuels economy. By allying these two novel programs with NARA logistics and conversion experts, the Bio-IDeX teams are working on planning and design projects to develop inspired solutions that address key aspects of the supply chain in communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Our output of these year-long experiences is to develop coalitions along the supply chain while assisting regional entities to understand key planning and infrastructure gaps necessary for them to participate.
During the 2011/2012 academic year, the Bio-IDeX teams are working in the five county Clearwater Basin, tasked with evaluating woody biomass resources and opportunities for the region to play a role in the biomass to biofuels supply chain (e.g., getting slash out of the forests, to chipping/processing facilities, to shipping terminals, and beyond). We are evaluating specific sites that could play key roles in a future supply chain that would move woody biomass from the forest, to a conversion site to produce an alcohol, which could eventually be shipped to the coast for final refining to biofuel. The purpose of focusing on actual sites is to provide a real-life context to the design and deployment challenges that a future industry might face. Our choice of these sites is based on key attributes for the supply chain but does not necessarily imply that any future business will develop.
An added benefit of this approach to supply chain design, is that this same network could also be deployed in developing biomass for bioenergy or biopower options.
The Clearwater Basin Bioenergy Assessment Project (CBBAP) is a collaborative effort to assess the Clearwater Basin’s potential as a link in the biofuel supply chain for the Pacific Northwest. The chain spans the extensive process of turning raw wood (i.e., woody biomass) into liquid aviation biofuel (i.e., isobutinol). The region has the potential to play a key role in the aviation biofuel industry due to its abundance of natural resources, skilled labor, and existing infrastructure. CBBAP aims to evaluate the advantages of three different sites within the region using a holistic approach to better understand the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the biofuels industry on this region. Students and faculty from the University of Idaho and Washington State University are working together through the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), funded by the US Department of Agriculture, to evaluate the region from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Clearwater Basin Sites
The site teams are evaluating the potential use/re-use of several sites throughout the Clearwater Basin that may lend themselves to use in the biomass to biofuels supply chain.