The Rutgers EcoComplex is a nationally recognized center for sustainable biomass energy business incubation and clean energy cluster development. Designated a Clean Energy Innovation Center, it focuses on innovative bioenergy processes and was one of the first in the nation to serve as a university-based clean energy business incubator. It was recognized by the State of New Jersey with the “Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award” for setting a benchmark for top performance for the clean energy sector.
In keeping with the mission of NJAES, the EcoComplex takes a multi-pronged approach to building a sustainable bioenergy industry through applied research and demonstration, outreach and education, and business development. This facility proves that it “walks-the-talk” when it comes to bioenergy by conducting demonstration projects and helping start-up businesses further develop their technologies. Through these demonstrations, improvements can be made and the technologies verified to optimize their technical and economic performance. By offering these services and resources to entrepreneurs, the center helps to reduce barriers in the commercialization process.
A key component to fostering a vibrant bioenergy industry is information on availability of biomass resources. To help fill that void, the EcoComplex recently released its updated report, “Assessment of Biomass Energy Potential in New Jersey 2.0,” which provides detailed data on 41 biomass feedstocks for every county in the state. It may come as no surprise that solid waste is the most plentiful biomass resource in New Jersey, given the state’s high population density. It’s logical that any company with the technology to produce bioenergy from waste should be developing projects in New Jersey.
The EcoComplex leads the New Jersey Clean Energy Resource Network (NJCERN), a comprehensive business development strategy for clean energy and energy efficiency companies in the state and those considering relocation to New Jersey. The EcoComplex has updated the NJCERN website (njcern.rutgers.edu), an online portal through which project developers can quickly filter hundreds of resources specific to New Jersey for information on financing, permitting, green job training, and other essential business development functions.
Appropriately, this Clean Energy Innovation Center also leads the New Jersey Clean Energy Innovation Council, which is a unique group of stakeholders representing government agencies and academia that support bioenergy-based economic development in New Jersey.
As the EcoComplex continues to build on its mission to serve as a regional hub of expertise and resources for the bioenergy industry, New Jersey is well positioned to benefit economically and environmentally from its activities.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the New Jersey Agricultural Station’s 2015 Annual Report.