Our Woodland Development Center is one of North America's leading thermochemical biomass technology development facilities. The facility is home to a 5 ton per day, pilot-scale Fast Internally Circulating Fluidized Bed (FICFB) gasification or pyrolysis system, a 10 ton per day, commercial-scale CircleDraft gasification system, and a rotary gasifier/carbonizer demonstration system. The Development Center offers a unique ability for our research team to utilize real-world syngas to advance innovative technologies through bench and lab-scale systems with real biomass-derived syngas, bio-oil, and biochar. West Biofuels maintains an onsite laboratory including equipment and facilities for feedstock and products testing to support commercial development. West Biofuels invites research partners to collaborate at their facilities to continue to advance the state of biomass technology and the conversion of organics to higher value fuels and chemicals.
The West Biofuels team is led by successful financier, Peter T. Paul, who brings his experience and success in the financial world to the problem of renewable energy development. In addition to being the CEO of West Biofuels, Mr. Paul is president of Headlands Asset Management, LLC, a financial company founded in 2007 in San Rafael, California and owner of Peter Paul Wines based in Healdsburg, California. Mr. Paul is also chair of The Headlands Foundation, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1995 that focuses on supporting local organizations and worthwhile causes that make life better for children and their families.
Prior to the formation of Headlands Asset Management, Paul was president of Headlands Mortgage Company, a premier wholesale lending institution in the country, specializing in originating, selling, securitizing, and servicing residential mortgage loan products. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Boston University. Mr. Paul currently serves on the Board of Directors of the UNH Foundation and is a trustee of Boston University.
Dr. Matthew Summers leads the technical development and research operations of West Biofuels. Dr. Summers has managed the planning, engineering, and construction of the Woodland Biomass Research Center. He supervises numerous staff and contractors and all aspects of technology development of the West Biofuels advanced reforming system. Dr. Summers has many years of experience as a technical consultant on the engineering, economic and environmental performance of biomass-to-energy technologies.
Dr. Summers has earned a Ph.D. in Biological Systems Engineering from University of California, Davis and holds a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He is a recognized expert in energy conversion, holds several patents, and has authored numerous reports on the subject of biomass-to-energy development, biomass and synthesis gas conversion technologies, emissions controls, and engineering design.
Brandon Bruning manages the pilot plant operations at the Woodland Biomass Research Center. Mr. Bruning brings to West Biofuels many years of experience in design, fabrication, and operations of industrial equipment. He is responsible for the fabrication of all major equipment developed for the West Biofuels pilot facilities. His duties include management of staff working in the pilot plant and contractors used in the development process.
Mr. Bruning has formal training in manufacturing engineering and holds a professional welding certification. He formerly developed equipment for the log home manufacturing industry in Idaho.
Dr.Chang-hsien (Jim) Liao conducts technology research and data analysis at the Woodland Biomass Research Center. Dr Liao is in charge of system efficiency analysis, thermal-fluid system design, biomass characteristics analysis, and automatic system control for projects at the research center. Dr. Liao's research focuses on hydrocarbon fuel processing technology and renewable energy technology. Dr. Liao is specialized in the biomass gasification/carbonization system, hydrocarbon-fuel reforming process on the hydrogen production system, and the fixed bed/fluidized bed thermal-chemical reactor system.
Dr Liao graduated from Physics Department of Fu-jen Catholic University in Taiwan, and holds a master of science degree in physics from National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan. Dr. Liao obtained his Ph.D. degree from University of California, Davis in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering and is a licensed P.E. in California