Unique bioenergy industry consortium will support workforce

A ‘ground-breaking’ collaboration with a unique workforce development component will help bring new technologies to the bioenergy industry in the US.

The Integrated Biochemical and Electrochemical Technologies (IBET) to Convert Organic Waste to Biopower collaboration will be led by the University of Michigan and U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, and Northwestern University. The project will bring together waste-to-energy technologies from each institution and opportunities to test these technologies with industry.

The IBET collaboration uses developments in separations, advanced bioreactor design, and process modelling and control. This new platform will help industry produce high-purity methane from mixed organic waste streams at large scales and support a circular economy.

“The opportunity provided to conduct research, develop novel technologies, and educate the future generation of waste-to-energy professionals through this collaboration is second to none,” said Lutgarde Raskin, the Vernon L. Snoeyink Distinguished University Professor of Environmental Engineering at Michigan and principal investigator of the project.

“Our work will be even more meaningful through the direct involvement of partners from industry.”

Corporate partners include inCTRL Solutions Corp, a biogas and wastewater treatment modelling and control company; the Great Lakes Water Authority, a major utility in Michigan and a potential end user for waste-to-energy technologies; and Carollo Engineers, an environmental engineering firm whose wastewater innovations group has focused on carbon management and energy production, among other topics.

These companies will shape and review technical reports to meet the needs of practitioners. They will also serve as industry mentors and provide internship opportunities for students interested in a utility or industry career.

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