In mid September, NARA conducted its 2015 Annual Meeting in Spokane, WA. This meeting marked the conclusion of the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance Project’s fourth year, and the launch of its last year under the contractual terms with the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Those in attendance were NARA members, NARA Advisory Committee members, William Goldner (USDA-NIFA), and invited stakeholders.
The primary purposes of this year’s Annual Meeting were to:
1) review what had been accomplished in the previous year and highlight the key lessons learned during that time; and
2) define the intended outcomes to be achieved by the conclusion of the Project in mid-2016 and strategize how those outcomes would be accomplished.
Day one of the Annual Meeting provided briefings on the Project’s progress since the previous 2014 annual meeting. These briefings consisted of presentations and an evening poster session and were tailored to update stakeholders and receive their input.
The remaining days were designed to provide opportunities for NARA Project Teams to share information and perspectives with each other and strategize how they will work together during Year 5 to achieve the NARA Project’s vision and goals. The Project also heard recommendations from the NARA Advisory Committee and from USDA-NIFA leadership regarding key issues to consider, address or prioritize for the final Project year.
One of the key priorities for this final year is to develop public-private partnerships to advance commercialization and help build one or two pilot-scale facilities within the Pacific Northwest used to process post-harvest forest residuals into biojet fuel and co-products. Within the next few months, NARA will identify the most suitable facility site(s) using site selection data generated through analyses performed by the Integrated Design Experience (IDX) group. Once a site has been selected, further design and financing steps will follow. It is anticipated that a full life cycle assessment (LCA) will accompany the selected site.
Other priorities include enhanced outreach to policy makers and a comprehensive analysis of the “real world” impacts from removing biomass from post-harvest forest operations.