• [ February 15, 2013 ]
  • Irish Institute Tours BECON


Norm Olson, project manager for the Iowa Energy Center, leads the group on a tour to the high bay area to showcase different projects associated with BECON. Photo: Kait McKinney/Iowa Energy Center

The Irish Institute at Boston College made a trip to the Iowa Energy Center’s Biomass Energy Conversion facility (BECON) as part of their Renewable Energies in Agriculture: Biomass program.

During the tour on February 13, the group of ten men and women with bio-energy related interests learned about the facility’s pre-commercialization research and development. Norm Olson, BECON project manager, presented the main types of biomass research done at the BECON facility in Nevada, Iowa. Participants were eager to compare the bioenergy research, industries, and resources in Iowa to those in Ireland.

After the presentation Mr. Olson gave a tour of the facility, and the visitors got a feel for the wide variety of application-based research and development that takes place at BECON.

The Irish Institute’s ten-day visit began in Boston, Mass. and then continued to bioenergy-related facilities throughout central Iowa, including Lincolnway Energy ethanol plant, Bioeconomy Institute, BioCentury Research Farm, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Frontline Bioenergy, and The Center for Biorenewable Chemicals.

For Mr. Olson, this marked the 500th tour he has given at BECON. The facility has hosted over 16,000 visitors from over 74 countries interested in the biomass-to-energy arena since it was created in 1999.

The Irish Institute is a division of the Center for Irish Programs at Boston College. The mission of the Institute is to promote the peace and reconciliation process on the island of Ireland through the provision of educational seminars and programs for public officials, business leaders, educators, and journalists from Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The institute’s 2012-2013 programming will address, among other subjects: social enterprise, executive leadership innovation in marine economies, renewable energy, political leadership, access for the disabled, and business development. The Irish Institute is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, the Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and Boston College.

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