Invasives to Energy Webinar Presentation
What: Webinar Presentation to Stewardship Action Council
Topic: Loyola’s Invasives to Energy Project
When: February 28, 2014 at 1:00-2:00PM (CST)
30 Minute Presentation
30 Minutes of Q&A and Discussion
Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability has initiated the Invasives to Energy project, which aims to develop financial incentives for private organizations actively managing invasive species. Invasive species are responsible for widespread ecosystem degradation and biodiversity losses that cause economic harm to society. Yet, management efforts are severely hampered by insufficient and inconsistent funding. We see an opportunity to pair private biomass energy production from invasive plants with government funded ecological restoration activities. Switching from controlled burning and herbiciding, currently the most widely used methods, to biomass harvesting restoration could allow eco-restoration to generate revenue and offset costs for the first time. Harvested biomass can be utilized as a carbon neutral energy source, primarily as high-density pellets for home heating and power production, with the potential for reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. With funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency, we will pilot our innovative business model over the next two years while continuing to determine the feasibility of utilizing a variety of invasive species for bio-energy. We look forward to presenting the details of this project and discussing potential partnership opportunities.