ICC - Skogforsk

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In early March, it was announced that the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Skogforsk, will enter into a joint collaboration with Itasca Community College (ICC) to develop an applied research program focused on developing effective methods, systems and technology within the forest-based bioenergy supply chain in Minnesota.

This is a result of the ongoing work IEDC is engaged in with its partners at ICC and the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota (BBAM), with an objective of building out the forestry and engineering program curriculum to train future workers on the latest forest management and combustion engineering technologies being utilized in the international forest biomass supply chain.

ICC is developing a campus strategy that in a first phase seeks to integrate more components covering biomass to energy measures as well as creating workforce development and training programs in the bioenergy sector. The collaboration with Skogforsk will help to further develop ICC's ambitions through the leveraging of established capabilities and knowledge developed by the Institute. In a future phase, ICC also plans to demonstrate the effective use of woody biomass as a fuel source through the enhancement of its already existing wood-fired boiler that serves the campus district heating loop.

"We see a great opportunity for cooperation around education, technology and innovation to increase efficiency and quality in the biomass supply chain. The conditions in Minnesota are similar to those in Sweden, and there are good opportunities for fruitful exchange of experiences" said Tomas Johannesson, researcher at Skogforsk.

Skogforsk (the Forestry Research Institute of Sweden) is the central research body for the Swedish forestry sector and is financed jointly by the government and the members of the Institute. Skogforsk pursues demand-driven applied research in a wide variety of fields, including forest technology, raw-material utilization, environmental impact and conservation, forest tree breeding and organizational structures. Please visit www.skogforsk.se/en for further information.

"A partnership with Skogforsk is a tremendous opportunity for Itasca Community College", stated Bart Johnson, Instructor and Wood Boiler Project Lead at ICC.  "The benefits of this partnership position ICC to better meet the educational needs of our region, especially in the woody biomass field.  Through this project, ICC is working to help strengthen the wood products industry in Northern Minnesota."

The educational collaboration is supported by the bioenergy partnership between The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota (BBAM) and the Swedish Bioenergy Association (SVEBIO). The bioenergy partnership is made possible by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the Blandin Foundation as well as Itasca Economic Development Corporation and the Area Partnership for Economic Expansion.

To learn more about the project, please contact Jeff Borling at (218) 326-9411.

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