On Wednesday, Sept. 28 the Roaring Fork Biomass Consortium hosted a regional biomass summit at Carbondale town hall. The day included a number of presentations on the feasibility of biomass in the Roaring Fork River valley region.

At the biomass summit, Aspen Journalism presented an audio slideshow with photos and audio captured during an educational tour in August of biomass plants and biomass-related companies in Germany and Austria. The slideshow starts at a biomass plant in Ascha, Germany and moves to various facilities in and around Linz, Austria.

The slideshow includes photos by Brent Gardner-Smith and Chris Studer of the South Dakota Farmer’s Union. The audio was gathered and produced by Gardner-Smith.

The biomass plant in Ascha, a small Bavarian village outside of Munich, is just one of many measures that residents have taken to become energy independent and carbon-neutral. The operator of the plant is Andreas Kulzer and the interpreter in the segment is Andreas Graf of the Ecologic Institute.

The next stop is at a large biomass plant in Linz, Austria. Hurbert Pauli, the manager of the Linz AG plant was our tour guide. The biomass plant provides 18 percent of the heat for Linz, Austria’s third-largest city.

Also featured in this segment is Scott Fitzwilliams, the supervisor of the White River National Forest in Colorado, and (briefly) Heather Erb, who is working to bring more green energy to the Durango region. Piper Foster of the Sopris Foundation is featured in one of photos taken deep inside the biomass plant. She’s the one with the big smile.

After the big Linz plant, the slideshow moves to a farm outside of Linz in Frankenburg, Austria where wood-chip entrepreneur Thomas Preuner of Preuner BioEngerie shows us around the operation. The translator was a professional translator provided by the O.O. Energiesparverband “Energy Academy” in Linz.

Then it is on to the Austrian pellet-stove manufacturer OkoFen where founder and owner Herbert Ortner showed us around the plant. He also showed us a large pellet-stove boiler at an affordable-housing apartment complex situated along the Danube River.

Our last stop is to a recently installed biomass plant in Kirchschlag, Austria outside of Linz. Featured in that segment is Bill Midcap of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, who is based in Fort Morgan, Colo. The translator was Dominic Marcellino of the Ecologic Institute.

The educational tour of was underwritten by the European Union, the World Future Council, the EcoLogic Institute, the German Foreign Ministry, and the Sopris Foundation.

Earlier this month, Aspen Journalism also produced a radio news story about the tour in collaboration with KDNK.

Other news stories about the biomass summit the Roaring Fork Biomass Consortium have been featured recently in the Denver Post, The Aspen Times and the Aspen Daily News.

Brent Gardner-Smith, the founder of Aspen Journalism, and who served as AJ’s executive director until August 2021 and as editor from 2011-2020, is the news director at Aspen Public Radio. He's also been...