Southern Ohio alternative energy development
Note to the reader: This project, which is taking place outside the Northeast SARE region, is part of the Appalachian Initiative funded jointly by Northeast SARE and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The North Central SARE region has asked the Northeast to assume administrative oversight of the project to streamline project management.
The Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission’s (OVRDC’s) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) project entitled “Southern Ohio Alternative Energy Development” consist of two objectives. First, our project includes planning and conducting a comprehensive renewable energy seminar for the southern Ohio region. The seminar is targeted at farmers, chambers of commerce, economic development staff, saw mills, lumber yards, and other small businesses. The seminar will include presentations on all the major renewable fuel sources as well as presentations about possible grant, loan, and venture capital sources available for renewable energy. A survey assessment of the level of interest by farms, sawmills, and others in pursuing renewable energy options will be conducted at the seminar. There will also be some follow-up technical assistance provided for those who attended the seminar. Secondly, the project includes two field visits for 20-30 business/farmers who are interested in more detailed information about significant renewable fuel sources in the state of Ohio. One field visit will be planned with a bio-diesel manufacturer (Nexsol) in the Cincinnati area and the other field visit will be planned with a fuel cell manufacturer (Technology Management) in the Cleveland area.
1. Contact major alternative energy speakers for seminar and check schedules – July 2007
2. Schedule date for Seminar and secure speaker commitments – August 2007
3. Develop promotional material and begin promotional campaign – September 2007
4. Make final arrangements and conduct Seminar – October-November 2007
5. Conduct survey assessment at seminar of participating farmers, sawmills and other major waste generators in exploring alternative energy markets – October-November 2007
6. Follow-up technical assistance will be offered by staff of OVRDC and OSU South Centers to address questions and assistance needed after the seminar (referrals will be made to alternative energy specialists as necessary) – November 2007-June 2008
7. Plan 2 field visits and briefings for those producers/businesses interested (20-30 each) – December 2007
8. Conduct field visit to Nexsol Biodiesel in Cincinnati – January 2008
9. Conduct field visit to Technology Management (Fuel cell) in Cleveland – February 2008
On May 7, 2007, John Hemmings conducted the initial planning meeting with staff from the Ohio State University South Centers and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center for the Southern Ohio Alternative Energy Conference. The date, time, and place of the event were discussed and the preliminary agenda was critiqued. It was decided at this planning meeting to change the name of the conference to the “Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference”.
On August 13, 2007, John Hemmings and Jeff Spencer conducted the second planning meeting with staff from the Ohio State University South Centers and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center to further discuss progress on planning the Renewable Energy Conference. The location of the conference was selected, the preliminary agenda was modified, and an update on efforts to secure speakers was given. The initial flyer promoting the event was also critiqued for final mailing to interested parties.
On August 27, 2007, John Hemmings participated in the Green Energy Meeting held by the Village of Georgetown at the Rumpke Landfill in Georgetown. Rumpke and the Village of Georgetown, in conjunction with Duke Energy, are discussing the possibility of constructing a methane-to-electric facility whereby methane gas from the landfill would power generators that would produce electric power. The project would cost about $3.3 to $4.0 million. The village is seeking grant or loan assistance to pursue this project.
During the month of September 2007, John Hemmings and Shannon Nichols worked on completing and mailing the final flyer for the Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference. On September 7, 2008, John Hemmings conducted the final planning meeting with staff from the Ohio State University South Centers and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center regarding the conference. Discussion centered on finalizing speakers and critiquing the final brochure for the event.
During the month of October 2007, John Hemmings continued planning for the Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference. John finalized the agenda, secured the keynote speaker, finalized and mailed the final brochure promoting the event, and worked to promote the event in order to increase attendance.
On October 29, 2007, John Hemmings and Jeff Spencer attended the Appalachian Ohio Energy Economic Development Summit in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, which was co-sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission, Senator George Voinovich’s office, the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, the Office of the Governor’s Energy Advisor, and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. The summit provided the opportunity for leaders in Appalachia to identify strategic opportunities in energy development for economic development and growth. OVRDC worked closely with this group so as to not duplicate efforts in promoting renewable energy. This event focused on the economic development impact of renewable energy while our conference was to introduce local citizens and officials to some of the different types of renewable energy resources.
On November 14, 2007, OVRDC held, in conjunction with OSU South Centers and the Ohio Cooperative Development Center, its Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference at the Comfort Inn in Piketon, Ohio. A total of 67 people attended the conference which featured sessions about viable renewable energy options for southern Ohio, biomass inventory in Ohio, corn-based ethanol and biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and woody biomass. The conference also featured a panel of state and federal officials speaking about financing that is available for renewable energy projects in Ohio. The keynote speaker for the event was Rick Peltz, ARC Alternate Federal Co-Chairman. The event was a great success with mostly positive feedback on the evaluations.
On January 30, 2008, John Hemmings met with Ed Lykins, who attended the Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference, to provide follow-up technical assistance. Mr. Lykins has developed a soybean press to produce bio-diesel but needs to add components to his press to separate the glycerin from the bio-diesel he is producing. Glycerin in the bio-diesel causes it to gel in cold temperatures thus reducing it effectiveness as a bio-fuel. John discussed Mr. Lykins looking into the Entrepreneurial Signature Program, however, Mr. Lykins had already met with an individual from that program. John indicated he would keep Mr. Lykins posted of any programs that he could take advantage of in the future.
In February 2008, John Hemmings began work to plan and schedule the two field visits. John sent an email to individuals at both Nexsol Biodiesel in Cincinnati and Technology Management (Fuel cell) in Cleveland. No response was received from the Nexsol Biodiesel Facility and the Technology Management (Fuel Cell) Facility responded stating that they were not equipped to handle a large group visit. Our plans were to conduct the field visit in mid-March and early April 2008. With the planting season upon us and the need for a new plan of action, we felt that attracting farmers to participate in any events past mid-April would be unsuccessful. Work ceased on planning and scheduling the field visits.
In May 2008, John Hemmings emailed David Holm, our SARE contact to request an extension for our project in order to plan, schedule, and conduct the field visits. Mr. Holm indicated that an extension was possible but in order for SARE to approve it, this Annual Report would need to be completed.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Planning for the Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference was completed from May-October 2007. Planning activities included contacting and securing speakers, scheduling date/time/place, developing promotional material, beginning the promotional campaign, and making all the necessary arrangements for the conference.
The Southern Ohio Renewable Energy Conference was held on November 14, 2007 at the Comfort Inn in Piketon, Ohio with 67 people in attendance. Due to the limited amount of farmers, sawmills, and other major waste generators, a survey assessment at the seminar was not completed. Our audience included mostly public officials, federal and state agency representatives, chambers of commerce representatives, economic development organizations, and entrepreneurs interested in renewable energy. We only had three attendees identified as involved in farming or sawmilling. OSU South Centers promoted the conference to an extensive list of farmers and sawmills in their database, and OVRDC sent the promotional material to Ohio Farm Bureau to distribute as they saw fit to their members.
Follow-up with technical assistance has been offered to one community (Village of Georgetown) and one individual (Ed Lykins), both of which attended the Conference. The technical assistance to the Village of Georgetown in relation to their methane-to-electric facility actually occurred before the conference.
Planning on the two field visits to Nexsol Biodiesel in Cincinnati and Technology Management (Fuel cell) in Cleveland did happen, but due to circumstances outlined in the Accomplishments section, the field visits have not happened yet.
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