Template Image

Weekly Updates

Week 1: May 16th - 18th

This week we first met all the interns and discussed each others interests as well as goals for the summer internship. We discussed possible field trips, as well as future group and individual projects. Also Stephen Matthews gave a presentation on latex bearing plants and their possible energy potential.

Week 2: May 21st - 25th

The first full week for the interns marked the start of their first project as a group. The interns began work on an energy garden, where they will be planting peanuts and sunflowers. The work was limited to the plot for the peanuts and the work mainly entailed tilling the ground to remove the grass and break up the soil. Also this week, Carolina Medina taught the interns about soils. You can find her lectures on the "Lectures" section of the website. Next week we hope to plant the peanuts and start the sunflowers, so check back on our progress.

Week 3: May 28th - June 1st

The main topic on the agenda this week was Biodiesel. Teaching Assistant Scott Edmunson gave several lectures on the chemistry of biodiesel and took the students in the lab to make their own batches of biodiesel. The interns took a field trip to the Alachua Biodiesel Company on Wednesday, seeing their first large scale biodiesel production. Also this week, Carolina gave her final lecture on soils, and work continued on the peanut patch. The interns planted the peanuts by the end of the week and laid black cow manure down as fertilizer.

Week 4: June 4th - 8th

This week we continued our biodiesel lectures with Scott, finding out the chemical processes involved in production and learned more about the chemistry of biodiesel. We also discussed the paper by Hill et al "Environmental, economic, and energetic costsand benefits of biodiesel and ethanol biofuels" . Jason Evans stopped by and gave a lecture on the ethics of biofuels. We also prepared and planted the sunflower patch.

Week 5: June 11th - 15th

This week at the Bioenergy School we have been focusing all of our attention on the Hare Krishna Waste Audit. We are doing this in order to obtain base data determining how much waste is produced and how easily it decomposes. We want to determine how long it takes to compost and which composting methods are the best. We are also interested in how much methane can be produced by the food waste thru anaerobic digestion. Last week the Bioenergy interns joined teaching assistants James and Scott in collecting some Krishna waste in order to get some preliminary numbers. Those practice days allowed the interns to strategize on the best collection methods. With this knowledge we decided to implement a few strategies this week: pass out descriptive flyers, display instructions on a white board, covering the trash bins with lids, and finally all stand in key locations throughout the entire lunch to collect waste ourselves. It was a great success. And we plan on collecting for two more days next week.

Week 6: June 11th - 15th

This week the Bioenergy Interns ended the collection of the Krishna Lunch Waste. On Tuesday representatives from the Alachua County Public Works Department-Division of Waste joined us to discuss various composting options. Doug, a friend of Dr. Wilkie, aided the interns with the shredding of Tuesday’s waste material into coin size pieces. Unfortunately the motor for the first shredder broke, therefore the interns continued these tasks on a second shredder, but the shredder got stuck with wet plates. The interns discovered that both shredders were designed for dry materials only. We postponed shredding Tuesday’s waste until Friday, when we decided that we should just shred it by hand with paper cutters and scissors. Later that week, we started outlining the size of our new food garden.

Week 7: July 2nd - 6th

The Bioenergy Interns are back from their week-long summer break and are ready to get back to work! Many of the tasks that the interns were focusing on this week are the maintenance of the peanut patch and sunflower patches, feeding and painting the anaerobic digester, fixing the cardboard ground cover, and ideas for a team slogan and individual projects. In addition, the interns will be planting seeds for the new food crop patch very soon. Stephen Matthews will be planting sugar cane for his food crop, Ajoke Agboola will be planting peppers, Gabe Espinosa barley, Patrick O’Donoughue potatoes, and Cherona Levy will be planting sorghum.

Week 8: July 9th - 15th

This week Ms. Jane came out to film our progress on our projects. We continued digester feeding and maintenence as well as maintenece and weeding of the garden. Jason came this week and completed his bioethics lecture that he started in week 4. Carolina presented a demonstration on how to use library resources. And at the end of the week we took a field trip to the motor pool where we learned how bioenergy is being used to fuel state vehicles.

Week 9: July 16th - 20th

The week of July 16th marked the first conference attended by the interns. St. Petersburgh hosted the Florida Farm to Fuel Conference from Wednesday to Friday. The most notable speaker was the Governor of the State of Florida, Charlie Crist, whos is becoming a major ally in the renewable energy movement. Other than the conference, the week was uneventful, with work on the website, food garden, and anaerobic digestor.

Week 10: July 23rd - 27th

This week at the Bioenergy Internship, the interns spent Monday and Tuesday concentrating on improving the website. In addition, the interns noticed that the peanut patch was failing in certain areas. They noticed that the side that was failing had a lot of broken glass pieces. They proceeded to discuss what could be the culprit and possible ways to rectify the situation. Cherona Levy, Stephen Matthews, Gabriel Espinosa and Patrick O’donoughue attended the 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Wilkie presented information on Biogas and Biofuel Synergies. Renewable Energy Grant Programs such as David Stewart’s “Fuel Ethanol Production from Citrus Waste Biomass” were among the other presentations at the conference. The interns gain a great deal of knowledge pertaining to the different biomass resources and feedstocks in the state of Florida and what various business and colleges are doing.

Week 11: July 30th - August 3rd

This week at the Bioenergy School was a busy one. After taking a tour of the Dairy Research Unit(DRU) on Sunday evening and learning about the anaerobic digestion of dairy manure; Monday, the Bioenergy Interns had a lecture on Carbon Credits and Carbon trading by Mark van Soestbergen. Mark gave a brief presentation on how carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, and explained how carbon credits work. Tuesday through Thurdsay was the Southeastern Bioenergy Conference, which saw a presentation by Dr.Wilkie on Anaerobic Digestion and Biofuel Synergies. Cherona, Steven, Patrick, Ajoke, and Carolina attended the conference and learned about things ranging from biobutanol to hydrogen. Finally, on Friday Dr. Alex Green gave a lecture on thermal gasification of biomass and its potential as a substitute for fossil fuels