Sustainable Futures Institute




2009-2010 SFI Speaker Series

October 5, 2009
3:00 p.m.
Rekhi Hall G 006


Peter Flynn, P. Eng., Ph.D.
Professor and Poole Chair in Management for Engineers - Emeritus
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Biomass Energy: A Criterion for Picking the Right Technology


peter flynn, speaker
View Presentation

Biomass is a carbon neutral potential fuel source for electrical power generation or transportation fuels, each by two routes. This raises the question: what is the object of renewable energy and how does one select the "best technology?" We propose that for all countries focused on greenhouse gas mitigation, the minimum incremental cost per unit of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, in essence the carbon credit required to economically sustain a renewable energy plant, is the most appropriate social criterion for choosing from a myriad of alternatives. Key steps in evaluating the required carbon credit include determining the appropriate scale for a given technology, the avoided carbon per unit of useful energy output, and the carbon credit required to provide an adequate return on investment for each technology. The application of this criterion is illustrated for four processing alternatives for straw/corn stover in central and western North America: production of power by direction combustion and biomass integrated gasification and combined cycle (BIGCC), and production of transportation fuel via lignocellulosic ethanol and Fischer Tropsch (FT) syndiesel. The methodology is suitable for other forms of renewable energy including woody biomass. The social policy implications of this approach are reviewed.

Peter Flynn received a Ph. D. from the University of Alberta in Chemical Engineering in 1974, and then spent 25 years in engineering, management and executive roles in Canada's energy industry. From 1984 to 1988 he served as President of CNG Fuel Systems, North America's largest supplier of equipment to let vehicles use compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel. In 1999 he returned to the University of Alberta to oversee the Engineering Management graduate program. He has authored a textbook, Financial Management for Engineers, and did research in greenhouse gas mitigation, mainly biomass economics, and in power price patterns in deregulated markets and its implications for pumped storage.


November 3, 2009
2:00 p.m.
Rekhi Hall GO6


Dan P. Davison, CEO
Double Helix Management Services Ltd

The Millennium Model Research Foundation:
Socio-Economic Model for a Sustainable Future

  image of Dan Davison, speaker  

The slogan of the Millennium Model Research Foundation is “Building 1000 Self-Sustainable Communities on Principles that last for 1000 Years”. The presentation will quickly lead the audience through the need to embrace philosophies of The Moral Explosion, which describes the philosophy for sustaining the human community, and then describes the practical enterprise model to support the community. Together, these will form the social-economic base for 1000 Self-Sustainable Communities as given in the business description of Double Helix Management Services Ltd. The talk will describe the immediate implementation of 10 Self-Sustainable Communities and how those communities are expected to develop 10 more with an additional round of development through the leadership and education arm of The Millennium Model Research Foundation.

Dan Davison has held international corporate executive and management positions in the industries of energy; food, farm and facilities; transportation and communications; currency and banking; health and wellness; education and training. He has most recently started a new company called Double Helix Management Systems Ltd. as the financial arm of his non-profit foundation called “The Millennium Model Research Foundation”. The monetization and capitalization are based on gold bullion and 6 infra-structure industries reflecting absolute values for everyone involved with global impact, and will be launched in late 2009. The foundation and investment management firm were formed as part of a unique monetization and capitalization system devised by Davison which are themselves designed to support the implementation and construction of 1000 self-sustainable communities. The communities are to be established on different continents and each community will accommodate at least 10,000 persons.

February 9, 2010
3:00 p.m.
Rekhi Hall GO6
  Yu Cai, Assistant Professor
MTU School of Technology
Green Computing


  Yu Cai's very handsome photo  

Yu Cai's research studies the promotion of green computing without sacrificing performance and security in computing systems to build a sustainable future. His educational plan is to advocate and integrate sustainability into computing education. Green computing represents a dramatic change in the priority of the IT industry from its traditional economic cost/benefit model to the new sustainable model.



March 25, 2010
11:00 a.m.
Rekhi Hall GO6

Rikard Gebart,
Managing Director ETC - Pitea, Sweden

Forest Biorefinery in Sweden -
Research and Commercial Introduction

  b   Sweden is one of Europe's leading producers of traditional forest products, e.g. pulp, paper and sawn goods. In recent years, rising oil prices and tough international competition in the area of forest products has led industry to evaluate the possibility of making additional new products, e.g. synthetic motor fuels. Estimates have shown that the cash flow at a typical pulp mill can increase by almost 50% if the mill introduces gasification-based production of motor fuels and that the payback time for the investment is attractively short.
In this presentation, some of the on-going developments in the area of forest-based biorefining in Sweden is reviewed. Already commercial is the conversion of tall oil (a by-product from chemical pulp mills) into FAME diesel done by the company SunPine in Pitea, Sweden. Close to commercial is the production of DME via black
liquor (another by-product from chemical pulp mills) gasification developed by Chemrec. DME is a synthetic diesel fuel that burns without soot production and this has motivated Volvo Truck to develop a new diesel engine for heavy trucks that will be field tested in ten trucks with DME from a pilot plant in Pitea, Sweden.
Another technology that is under development is direct gasification of biomass in an entrained flow configuration developed by IVAB. This technology is being tested in a pilot gasifier in Pitea, Sweden. In addition to the review of on-going industrial developments some recent results from experiments in an industrial size black liquor
gasifier will be presented and compared with predictions from a CFD based gasifier model.

SFI Home  ||  About  ||  Research  ||  Education  ||  Publications  ||  News  ||  Campus Sustainability  ||  Contact 

Michigan Technological University 1400 Townsend Drive Houghton, Michigan 49931
Sustainable Futures Institute

Phone: 906.487.3612
Fax: 906.487.2943