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Herty Announces Launch of Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions

The Georgia Southern University Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, Savannah, GA (Herty), U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment); and the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI (FPL);   announced the launch of the Consortium for Advanced Wood-to-Energy Solutions (CAWES). The consortium’s goal is to spearhead development of commercially-viable, advanced wood-to-energy products that can be produced from low-value trees and forest residues that can compromise forest health and increase the frequency of wildfires.

The U.S. Endowment and the Forest Service, via its State & Private Forestry division, have “jump started” the consortium with a $4 million investment designed to identify and fill critical research, development, and deployment needs in launching successful commercial biomass to energy products operations.

Deteriorating forest health conditions—due to overstocked stands, insect and disease killed timber, and extremely limited market options for low-value forest biomass—have led to increasing size, intensity, and acreage of wild land fires that are collectively consuming more than $3 billion in federal tax dollars annually in suppression costs and billions more in economic and environmental loss, as well as loss of human life.

Large volumes of wood in the form of disease- and insect-killed trees, as well as slash, small diameter trees, and non-commercial species that need to be removed, are of no- or extremely low-commercial value as traditional wood-based products. Without markets for this low-value wood, forest landowners and land managers are left with few viable options to address deteriorating forest health conditions.

Development of commercially-viable and sustainable energy sources from low-value forest biomass is one of the most promising opportunities to develop new markets for wood. CAWES’s initial focus will be on a process known as torrefaction. “Our initial work will center on determining the commercial viability of torrefaction—the ‘roasting’ of wood in a low oxygen environment—to create an energy dense product that can more easily be shipped, stored and used to produce renewable energy,” said Dr. Alexander Koukoulas, President & CEO of Herty.

“We are excited to be one of the founding partners in this important initiative designed to advance the health and vitality of our Nation’s forests while growing family-wage jobs,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “The idea of linking some of the nation’s leading research institutions in a rapid feedback system with product manufacturers is among the more promising aspects of CAWES.”

“CAWES is an open-platform collaborative of institutions in the public and private sectors representing green energy, forest management, research, philanthropy and private industry committed to advancing economically-viable, scalable, distributed wood-to-energy solutions that stimulate forest restoration and rural economic development through research and application of advanced wood-to-energy solutions,” said Dr. Ted Wegner, Assistant Director of FPL.

The founding partners will seek the participation of public and private institutions that share the commitment for addressing the challenges and opportunities of creating sustainable green energy products while advancing forest health and rural forest-rich communities.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125-degree programs serving more than 20,500 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education.

New Faculty Workshop Offered on Regulatory Issues

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development is hosting “Special Topics in Research Administration,” a new workshop for faculty members, on Friday, Oct. 24. Attendance is limited and the deadline to register is Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Talks Fast Facts on Ebola Virus

Officials from the Georgia Southern University Pandemic Influenza and Emergency Infectious Disease Committee recently met to discuss community and campus preparedness and response related to infectious diseases such as the Ebola virus and Influenza. Isaac Fung, professor and infectious disease epidemiologist, and members of his staff, today gathered several fast facts to identify the virus and prevent its spread.

Preventing infection of Ebola:

Do wash your hands with soap and water often or use alcohol-based sanitizer 1,2
Do not touch blood or bodily fluids (e.g. saliva, sweat, urine, feces, vomit) of those who are sick, do not handle bodies of individuals who have died from Ebola, or animals infected with Ebola2
Avoid unnecessary travel to affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone)3

Recognizing the infection:

*If you have recently traveled to an area where the Ebola outbreak is occurring*

Seek medical care immediately if you develop a fever (greater than temperature of 101.5°F/ 38.6°C) and any of the other following symptoms1,2 headache, stomach pain, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained bruising or bleeding.

If you have not had any symptoms of Ebola for 21 days since leaving a West African country with Ebola outbreaks, you do not have Ebola.4

What to do if you think you or someone has the infection?

Seek medical care immediately. Before you go to the hospital, notify the doctor about your symptoms, and your recent travel to West Africa or recent contact with someone sick with Ebola. Limit your contact with other people and do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility. Avoid public transportation.

For additional information about Ebola visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). What You Need to Know About Ebola. Retrieved from:
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Questions and Answers on Ebola. Retrieved from:
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Advice for Humanitarian Aid Workers Traveling to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone during the Ebola Outbreak. Retrieved from:
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Advice for Colleges, Universities, and Students about Ebola in West Africa. Retrieved from:

Acclaimed University Research Center Adds Two New Hammer Mills, Broadens Scope Of Biomass Testing Opportunities

Buffalo, NY (PRWEB) – Biomass Testing Hub The Herty Advanced Materials Development Center of Georgia Southern University has been a world-class applied research facility for over 75 years. For decades, their clients have honed developing technologies, validating their process and product concepts in Herty’s laboratory. Headed by Dr Omar Ali, Herty’s BioProducts Division has been at the forefront of many innovations in the processing of biomass. Serving as a hub for pre-commercial process and product testing, the Herty lab allows clients to develop technology suitable for commercial implementation before making a capital investment. A recent purchase of two hammer mills from Buffalo, NY based manufacturer, Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC will take Herty’s pilot scale pellet line and biomass conversion capabilities to the next level.

Increased Feedstock Demand
The domestic and international demand for biomass pellets derived from renewable sources continues to rise. The International Energy Agency estimates that global demand for energy pellets increased 110% to 13.5M tons between 2006 and 2010, and is projected to further increase to 35M by 2020. This increased demand will require that biofuel producers continue to seek out new feedstocks, including high moisture content materials such as green wood. The addition of the two hammer mills to Herty’s lab will address challenges commonly faced when processing high moisture content materials for biofuel feedstock by enabling size reduction both before and after the drying process. “Having this flexibility in size reduction capabilities will be a big plus for Herty and in the ability to serve our clients and support our ongoing research programs,” said Dr. Ali.

Innovative Size Reduction
Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC has been designing and manufacturing custom size reduction equipment for more than eighty years. In the past decade, we have worked extensively with producers of a wide variety of biofuels, and as a result have become well versed in the common challenges of processing green wood and other high moisture content biomass materials. “We have supplied our equipment to many of the largest wood pellet plants in North America, and we have developed technologies that are unsurpassed in performance. Our smaller mills, such as those supplied to Herty feature these same technologies. Therefore, the results achieved in Herty’s pilot facility can be easily and accurately scaled up to any production level,” explains Tom Warne, President & CEO of Schutte- Buffalo Hammermill, LLC.

Optimal feedstock for energy pellets has a moisture content of less than 10%, and a consistent finished particle size of ¼” or less. However, by definition, “green“ biomass has a moisture content that can be greater than 50%. Therefore, for green biomass to be used as feedstock, it must first be dried. The challenge becomes how to do so in the most efficient and cost effective way. As a result, our engineering team has determined that a two-phase size reduction process, i.e. one hammer mill before and one after the dryer, is the best approach to efficiently addressing the challenges posed by green biomass.

The installation at Herty will feature two hammer mills, custom configured for processing biomass materials. The first, a Model 1320 gravity discharge mill will pre-grind the green material to a consistent ½” to 1” finished particle size, at a rate of well over 1 TPH. Once the pre-ground material is dried to a moisture content of <10%, it will be fed into the second mill, a Model 1360 pneumatic discharge hammer mill where it will be further reduced to the exact finished particle size required at the rate of 1 TPH. The pneumatic evacuation on the finish grinding hammer mill maintains processing efficiency by “pulling” the material through the hammer mill screen and then conveying it to the next phase of the process following size reduction.

Broader Capabilities
The addition of the hammer mills to the Herty laboratory will allow enhanced biomass re-sizing, thereby extending the processing capabilities for pellet production and biomass conversion.

Dr. Alexander A. Koukoulas, President & CEO of Herty states: “Biomass Processing is a key component in the production of a wide range of products including energy pellets, bio-based chemicals and advanced biofuels. The added capabilities this equipment brings to Herty will make us second-to-none in our ability to process biomass and support the development of the bio-based economy.“

About Herty Advanced Materials Development Center
The Herty Advanced Materials Development Center, an applied research center of Georgia Southern University, is a world-class research, development and demonstration facility. Herty is a new product and process accelerator providing technical, market, and development expertise in short-fiber composites, biomaterials and biomass processing. Herty’s expertise and extensive pilot-scale capabilities for prototyping new products help companies de-risk the commercialization process. Visit:

About Georgia Southern University:
Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 120 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Visit:

About Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC
Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC has been a designer and manufacturer of custom configured size reduction equipment for more than 85 years. Current Schutte installations number more than 16,000 in 50 countries. A commitment to applying the time proven principles of size reduction to new and innovative industries and applications has been the cornerstone of Schutte-Buffalo Hammermill, LLC’s continued success. Visit:

Georgia Southern University Molecular Biology Initiative Named a STEM Education Awards Finalist

ATLANTA (September 8, 2014) – The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), the state’s
leading association dedicated to the promotion and economic advancement of Georgia’s
technology industry, today announced that the Molecular Biology Initiative has been
named as a Finalist in the Post-Secondary Outreach category for the 2014 STEM Education

The Technology Association of Georgia’s 3rd STEM Education Awards recognizes schools,
programs, and companies for outstanding efforts and achievements in supporting and
promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education in Georgia.
The Molecular Biology Initiative (MBI) partners with regional teachers to bring hands-on,
relevant science to students (biotechnology, chemistry, physics, biology, forensics), including
applicable technology and math skills. “This program represents a true partnership between
university and school expertise, resulting in high-impact, sustainable outcomes for STEM
education and student learning,” said Dr. Laura Regassa, MBI Director.

“It is exciting to see the progress we are making with STEM education in Georgia. The increase in
nominations each year and the quality of the nominations made it difficult for our judges,” said
Michael Robertson, Executive Director of TAG Education Collaborative. “Congratulations to the
Finalists! Your work engaging these students in STEM will benefit the students you touch for
years to come with challenging and exciting careers.”

* Elementary School
* Middle School
* High School
* Post Secondary Outreach
* Extracurricular Program
* STEM Certified School Outreach
* Corporate Outreach
* Best STEM Day Activity

Winners in each category will be officially honored at The 3rd Annual STEM Education Awards
event held on September 26th at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center in
Savannah, Georgia. The event is presented by TAG, the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed), a
non-profit 501c3 dedicated to advancing STEM education in Georgia, and TAG Savannah.
“STEM occupations will increase in Georgia by more than 22,000 during the current decade,”
said Tino Mantella, president & CEO of TAG. “The finalists of this year’s STEM Education Awards
are helping to prepare the tech-ready workforce needed to fill these jobs and we applaud them
for standing out as leaders in Georgia’s educational community.”

For more information about TAG and the 3rd Annual STEM Education Awards or to attend the
event, visit

About MBI

The Molecular Biology Initiative targets STEM education and workforce needs at multiple levels
in Southeast Georgia to ensure a real and lasting impact. Participants include in-service
teachers, K-12 students, and students pursuing advanced STEM degrees. Each semester, the
program partners graduate student fellows with in-service high school teachers, and together,
they bring technologically relevant, hands-on science to over 1000 students on a weekly basis.
For more information, visit or contact Janee Cardell at (912)

To view the original press release, visit

Office of Vice President for Research and Economic Development • P.O. Box 8140, Statesboro, GA 30458 • (912) 478-8641 •