In the wake of the $1.5 million grant that Alfred State received from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for its Biorefinery Development and Commercialization Center (BDCC), the college recently welcomed representatives from ARC, as well as several other distinguished guests, to its Wellsville campus.
The visitors were treated to lunch in the Student Leadership Center on the Alfred campus, before touring several facilities on the Wellsville campus, including the Zero Energy Home, the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Center, and the Construction Workforce Development Center, all of which included components that were funded by the ARC.
Among the distinguished guests were Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of ARC; Guy Land, chief of staff at ARC; Kyle Wilber, ARC program manager for the New York State Department of State; Alison Hunt, district director for US Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning; Jill Koski, economic development liaison for US Rep. Reed; Curt Crandall, chairman of the Allegany County Board of Legislators; and Tim Boyde, Allegany County administrator.
Gohl mentioned he always enjoys visiting Alfred State and complimented the college on its students and leadership.
“Any time we make an investment here, we see good things happening,” he said. “We see an asset being created, we see opportunities being provided. Alfred State’s track record is something we would like to see throughout Appalachia.”
Dr. Craig Clark, vice president of Economic Development at Alfred State, said, “We can’t thank ARC enough for having invested in western New York, as well as the college, and we strongly feel that the biorefinery will put us on the map, but also change the whole region and develop a new industry.”
The BDCC is a prototype that will develop and commercialize the Hot Water Extraction (HWE) process that produces valuable chemical assets from wood, energy crops, and agricultural residuals. Through this technology, approximately 25 percent of the chipped biomass is converted into value-added products such as advanced fuels and bio-based chemicals for plastics. The remaining 75 percent produces modified wood chips that have improved qualities for paper products, fuel pellets, and particleboard used in furnishings and construction.
Alfred State’s 18,000-square-foot biorefinery center is intended to spur additional investment, including business start-ups and full-scale biorefineries. Alfred State, the State University of New York (SUNY), universities from other ARC states, and private-sector bioenergy and biochemical companies will benefit from the research facility. The new ARC grant increases the total funding raised to date for the research facility to $4.5 million. It was made through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. This congressionally funded multi-agency strategy brings federal resources directly to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production.