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Caribou Biofuels and SUNY partner to develop waste to fuel rotary gasifier

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Biomass process systems provider Caribou Biofuels has teamed up with the Research Foundation for SUNY (the State University of New York) to develop and commercialise a rotary gasifier that converts combustible waste into biofuel, with a soil supplement as a by-product.

The technology was invented at SUNY Cobleskill by Professor David Waage, with initial research funded by a joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Defense (DOD) programme.

This year, SUNY Cobleskill received a grant worth $1.6 million (€1.43 million) from the two government agencies to build and demonstrate a fully automated, portable rotary gasifier waste-to-energy system at a military base in the US.

The gasifier is able to produce both gaseous and liquid fuels from almost any combustible material, which have significantly higher energy content than other similar technologies. The fuels are cleaner-burning than fossil fuels and reduce overall carbon emissions.

The machine, which has been built at SUNY Cobleskill, can produce 60 kilowatts of power per day from around two tonnes of feedstock – enough to power 50 American homes.

“The invention and development of the rotary gasifier encapsulates SUNY Cobleskill’s mission to grow, to sustain and to renew our world and its citizens,” said SUNY Cobleskill president Marion A. Terenzio.

“We are proud of Professor David Waage for imagining the possibilities of a cleaner, more sustainable world, and taking action, right here on our campus, to develop this advanced technology with enormous potential. We extend our gratitude to SUNY Research Foundation for shepherding the project, and welcome our new partner, Caribou Biofuels. This is a great day for all concerned.”

As part of the development, Caribou Biofuels has brought together the strengths of four partner organisations – SUNY Cobleskill, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Scaled Power and the Joint Bioenergy Institute – to develop the mobile biomass processing system.