Genera Energy, University of Tennessee Team Up on IBSS Program

Integrated Biomass Supply Systems Partnership supports training for next generation industry leaders

 VONORE, Tenn. June 11, 2014 –  Genera Energy Inc., a recognized innovator in sustainable biomass feedstock supply advancements and supply chain improvements, is partnering with the Center for Renewable Carbon program at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, by welcoming two summer interns from Auburn University. Alexus Brown, from Birmingham, Alabama, is a senior majoring in ecological engineering, and Mary Catherine Rubisch, from Weaverville, North Carolina, is a senior majoring in biosystems engineering.

The internship program is part of the Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS), which also includes North Carolina State University, the University of Georgia, ArborGen, Inc., and Ceres, Inc. IBSS is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which focuses on developing regional systems for the sustainable production of bioenergy and biobased products. The goal of the IBSS Partnership is to demonstrate the production of advanced biofuels from sustainable sources of lignocellulosic biomass. The program focuses on perennial switchgrass, and short-rotation woody crops such as eucalyptus and pine.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alexus and Mary Catherine to Genera Energy this summer as part of the IBSS Partnership,” said Kelly Tiller, president and CEO of Genera Energy. “They have both come to East Tennessee eager to learn about innovative biomass feedstock supply chain solutions. The IBSS program is a key resource in training the next generation of biomass industry leaders in the Southeast.”

The UT Institute of Agriculture and other partners submitted the IBSS Partnership proposal in 2010, in response to the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) requesting applications for regional Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP). AFRI’s Sustainable Bioenergy Program places a priority on sustainable agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, and rural communities and entrepreneurship. The IBSS Partnership addresses those goals, highlighting solutions for sustainable biofuel production that can be implemented in the real world.

The Partnership is also working toward the USDA’s goal of producing 22 billion gallons of biofuel, annually, by 2022; half of that is expected to be produced in the Southeast. IBSS partners aim to find cost-efficient, effective ways to fulfill the supply and demand for biofuels, while minimizing and managing risk, and providing satisfactory return on investment for farmers. Genera Energy is one partner leading the way in meeting those goals.

“We have been testing equipment and techniques that increase the quality of biomass crops from planting, to harvesting, storage, and preprocessing while reducing cost and risk,” said Tiller. “Our IBSS Partnership interns are able to learn how these processes will help carry the biomass industry forward, and whatever their future roles in the industry may be, we feel confident that their time at Genera will put them at the forefront of helping to meet the Nation’s bioenergy goals.”

For more information about the IBSS Partnership, visit