Participants at the 2013 NARA annual meeting in Corvallis Oregon
Participants at the 2013 NARA annual meeting in Corvallis Oregon

Researchers, educators, economists and business leaders gathered to attend NARA’s second annual meeting held in Corvallis Oregon September 9th -12th. This year’s meeting was structured to accomplish multiple objectives:

  • To provide a forum for NARA teams to meet, share information and map out strategies to accomplish year three goals;
  • To provided regional stakeholders, NARA members, the NARA Advisory Board and USDA representatives an opportunity to hear formal presentations covering accomplishments and future work from every aspect of the project;
  • To provide a poster session and social reception for NARA and Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) members. AHB, like NARA, is a Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) centered in the Pacific Northwest. A comparison of the two projects can be found here.

One of a number of significant advances made by NARA last year was to establish a supply chain coalition, map assets and deliver strategic recommendations for conversion sites and depots covering western Montana, northern Idaho and northeastern Washington. A draft summary of this effort is available here. Beginning in Summer 2013, and extending through mid 2014, we are repeating the process in western Oregon and Washington to continue building a regional supply chain and engage stakeholders. Selecting Corvallis Oregon for the annual meeting location coincides with NARA’s entry into this region.

NARA and Advance Hardwood Biofuels Northwest

Formal presentations began Tuesday evening with a keynote address provided by a panel of top executives from corporate members of either NARA or AHB. The panel shared their perspectives on the biofuel industry, how the CAP programs complemented their goals and answered questions from the audience.  Panel members consisted of:

A common element in the panel conversation was how NARA and AHB efforts help lower the risk of investing in the emerging wood to biofuel industry.

NARA presentations and feedback

Wednesday afternoon featured short focused talks relating to technical and economic aspects of wood-to-biojet and co-product conversion technologies. These talks, due to confidentiality, were directed to NARA members, the Advisory Board, and USDA-NIFA representatives only and provided an update of progress to date. Presentations on Thursday focused on all other aspects of the project such as feedstock development and logistics, sustainability analyses, education and outreach efforts and were made available to the public. Each presentation was video recorded and available to view here. The annual meeting guest agenda can be viewed here.

After all presentations were given, the NARA membership had an opportunity to hear feedback from regional stakeholders, the NARA Advisory Board and from the USDA-NIFA. Bill Goldner, National Program Leader of Sustainable Bioenergy of the Institute of Bioenergy, Climate and Environment, in USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provided his and board member’s first impressions regarding what they learned at the meeting. Broad recommendations provided to the NARA group included developing alternative products from the cellulosic sugars and isobutanol and avoiding redundancy within the project. A final summary of recommendations will be made available to the NARA executive team within the next few weeks.  Remarks were not limited to recommendations. The advisory board voiced enthusiasm for the progress made since the meeting last year and for the enhanced communication and cooperation among NARA members. Bill Goldner’s remarks can be viewed here.

NARA will hold their next annual meeting on September 15-17, 2014 in the Seattle area.