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Biomass Internships Available for ESF Students

SUNY-ESF, partners offer paid summer positions for eight students in growing field

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is partnering with the Syracuse Center of Excellence, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO) and eight upstate New York businesses to offer paid summer internships to college students who are interested in learning about the increasing use of biomass in the bioenergy field.

"People see Upstate New York as poised to have an important role in the biomass industry," said Dr. Timothy Volk, co-director of the ESF-based SUNY Center for Sustainable and Renewable Energy. "ESF is certainly engaged in it, with training and educating students to work in the field, and there are a number of local companies that want interns to help them as they move forward."

Biomass, which refers to any organic material that is available on a renewable or recurring basis, can be used as a sustainable resource in the production of heat, power, fuel and consumer products. Biomass includes dedicated energy crops, trees and other plants, wood and wood residue, fibers and waste materials.

The summer biomass internship program is run collaboratively by ESF, the Syracuse Center of Excellence and the CenterState CEO. The program is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The program began last summer with two local internships. The internships will be awarded to undergraduate or graduate students who are enrolled full or part time in a program of study at any college or university in Central New York.

Participating companies are Antares Group, ACT Bioenergy, Mascoma, Mesa Reduction Engineering and Processing, New England Wood Pellet, O'Brien & Gere, ReEnergy and Sunoco.

"This region is moving forward in the biomass area," Volk said. "The resources are here, the research is being done here and there are businesses here doing work in the field. The next step is to provide a trained work force."

Students interested in obtaining more information about the internships should contact Aimee Clinkhammer at the Syracuse Center of Excellence aclinkhammer@syracusecoe.org or 315-443-3741, or Timothy Volk at ESF tavolk@esf.edu or 315-470-6774.