Stimulated CSE?

Just to keep you all “in the loop”, I may very well be in the running for a chunk of the Stimulus Package in regards to rural development/renewable energy/sustainable agriculture grants.  I have begun the application process in conjunction with several local organizations that requested proposals based on our ideas.  The front runner is for a grant to fund the start-up for a CSE business focused on producing small scale energy centers (gasifier+greenhouse) as well as a commercial version of our gasifiers.  The business would be located in a 5-10 acre facility whose grounds would be holistically planned (duh!) and use willow coppice for the windbreaks of 8, .5 acre garden plots that would be farming incubators for graduates of local sustainable farming education programs (pay it forward!).  Those plots would also form the test beds to determine the amount of biochar ag land can take and its effects.  

The structure itself would be comprised of a gasifier powered workshop which would include ethanol and biodiesel production, manufacturing capabilities for several dozen gasifiers annually, a half dozen or more energy centers, as well as equipment to produce 20 tons of pellets annually.  Additionally, the south side of the workshop would be a gasifier heated aquaponics greenhouse that would also house the solar drying still for the biomass crops.  The facility would  have a strong outreach component focused on seminars and workshops on liquid and solid biofuel production, aquaponics, permaculture, sustainable ag and gasification as well as anything else someone wants me to talk about.

This is all happening VERY fast, but these ideas have been “shovel ready” for about a year now so the ramp up is do-able.  Switching from welding burn plates to crafting business plans is throwing my brain into fits, but it beats watching sitcoms for sure.

I have no idea where this will go, but it sure is fun!

Thanks in advance for all the good energy… if I make it to the State review level I will be asking for you to call you Congressman!


10 Responses

  1. This is fantastic! Good luck!

  2. Watch out. You may be next in line for a MacArthur fellowship…

  3. Thanks Katrien!

    Ed… oh my GOD that would be amazing!!! Thanks a ton for saying so!

    Now its back to putting meat into my budget proposal -its remarkably hard to find comparable $/sq ft numbers for straw bale pole barns heated by biomass gasification that produce tilapia….

    MacArthur Fellowship – jeepers, Ed!

  4. We don’t have congressmen here, but I am sure that our local equivalent would be interested in any idea that leads to self-reliance for our part of the north of our state of our nation/island/continent – not for reasons of ecology or ethics, but for reasons more parochial. And, that is the beauty of such a pragmatic approach to what you are doing – it is so extraordinarily practical and steeped so deeply in pragmatics that it can easily be sold as common sense, without any need to mention the dreaded E word to those who view environmentalists as a blight upon the (human) landscape.

    Nice one (again), Rob.

    I look forward to monitoring you continued progress with this.


  5. Thank Bryan
    The ROI of gasification is not so great in current economic thinking as it actually internalizes all the costs compared to oil/natural gas which does not. But the economics start to look very good indeed if you start capitalizing on the waste products (heat and biochar) to make food and liguid fuels, or if it received the level of subsidy that oil does.

    Our Energy Center could be constructed by a do-it-yourself’r for under $10k, and we plan on selling them for $15 or so + installation. On paper at least, they will generated 44,000 KWH of electricity, 5 tons of bio-char, 750#’s of fish, 1250 gallons of BD (with a source of grease) and several hundred pounds of produce. That adds up to about $13,000 in revenue annually, at a profit margin of at least 75% not counting labor.

    My favorite part? The more you run the gasifier the LESS you pollute. What a concept!

  6. Your ideas are amazing. I wish I lived closer, I would love to get a tour and an up close view of what you and your compatriots are doing!

  7. that is fantastic, best of luck.

  8. […] as low cost, easily erected, functional structures.   Last Spring I was part of a group that submitted a grant proposal chasing some of the Stimulus Money.  Obviously we failed (should have said we were expanding an […]

  9. […] the energy side of the SAFE (Sustainable Agriculture Food and Energy) Centers since we did not get Stimulus funding in 2009.   With a market farm generating $10k+ a year in net revenue, we will pay off our Hoop House in 2 […]

  10. […] will have an absolutely vital role to play, they need to know WHAT to do.  I applied for Stimulus funding in 2009.  We never officially got turned down – in fact we made it through 4 hurdles before […]

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