What is the scale of the B2M project?

     This project is focused on converting local biomass into merchantable fuels using village scale technology.

      The ability to convert large quantities of non-renewables such as coal and natural gas into methanol is well established. Today, there are dozens of huge chemical plants around the world churning out more than 2.6 billion gallons of methanol annually, most of which is used to synthesize complex chemical compounds.

      For decades, the monetary calculus driving the construction of methanol plants has called for building mega-plants capable of ever higher levels of production. It is the goal of this project to go the opposite direction and create micro-reactors that can convert local biomass into automotive fuels for local consumption.

      What are some of the benefits of village scale production?
  • More local employment

          The conversion of local waste biomass into merchantable fuels will provide sustainable employment for people working directly with local biomass. Those workers, in turn, will support the local economy by purchasing local products and services. Every dollar retained in the local economy goes on to generate additional dollars that knit the community together; every dollar sent out to buy fuel unravel the social fabric.

  • Greater ecological security

          In certain key ways, smaller systems are inherently easier to contain and control. Healthy ecosystems involve a dynamic balance of a series of factors and small systems are more easily tweaked toward long-term positive outcomes.
          In addition, a community that can convert air, water, and sunshine into fuel will be able to meet core needs without having to mine as much ore, cut as much timber, or plow as much land. The ability to create fuel from waste biomass has the potential to create a tipping-point type shift away from decline and into a more resilient ecological configuration.

  • Greater financial independence

          To the extent that rural communities need to convert local resources into money, they're vulnerable to financial market forces which have little to do with local concerns. The ability to produce and trade a key resource within the community confers an important degree of protection from speculators.

  • Increased opportunities for stewardship

          The more ties a community has to its land-base, the more opportunities there are for local people to become vested in the vitality and diversity of their land-base. Stewards can diversify a forest's long-term potential to support the community through the production of timber, fuel, food, and fiber, products which can serve as raw materials for a host of traditional crafts capable of meeting community needs in sustainable ways.

  • Greater local accountability

          No technology is totally benign. The large scale conversion of woody biomass into vehicular fuel could, in the hands of large corporations, result in the wholesale conversion of forests into clear-cut deserts.
          The long-term management of a healthy forest relies on stewardship at the local level, not on production quotas handed down from some far away corporate headquarters. generally speaking, the greater the distance between decision makers and the local community, the greater the likelihood of ecological damage through over-use or misapplication.

  • Better utilization of low-grade energy inputs and outputs

          Industry often wastes materials that don't fit into the commodified categories demanded by large commercial operations. A local B2M plant can be configured to make use of resources that otherwise would not be sent to market. And because of its small size, a B2M plant and be quickly reconfigured to address seasonal variations in locally available biomass.
          In addition, the process heat given off by a locally integrated B2M plant can provide domestic heating or heat a greenhouse, laundry, bakery, ceramic kiln, etc.

  • Lower transportation costs

           Rural villages have to pay the freight both ways. When they sell products to the city, they get market price less the cost of transporting their goods to market. When they buy things, they have to pay the market price plus the cost of getting those goods delivered to where they need them. By using locally available biomass to meet local vehicular fuel needs, a rural community gains a significant increase in both efficiency and resiliency.

  • Greater independence from distant energy providers

          The energy market, like all markets, goes through cycles which can disrupt local economies, and for-profit corporations use those cycles to their advantage. Having viable local alternatives can enable a rural community to engage in the market, when it's in their interest to do so, and not engage when it's not.

  • Greater community pride

          A community is ultimately just a group of people, and the more dependent people are on outside forces, the less self-respect they have. By enabling rural communities to meet an essential need directly, the B2M project provides a way to break a key part of the cycle of dependency. A community that is capable of taking care of its core needs demonstrates that it is a coalition of people working together for the common good. That builds trust, and trust builds respect.