History of the Biomass Energy Foundation (BEF) (Reed, 2007) [WGT07030]

Note: The Biomass Energy Foundation (BEF) was dissolved in 2013. This webpage was originally authored by Dr. Thomas B. Reed and appeared on the BEF website.

The Biomass Energy Foundation (BEF) is a 501-3-C non profit foundation devoted to biomass energy and specializing in gasification.

Harry LaFontaine's Woodgas-Converted Lincoln Continental Stretch Limo

Harry LaFontaine’s Woodgas-Converted Lincoln Continental Stretch Limo

The BEF was founded in 1984 by my good friend and mentor, Dr. Harry LaFontaine.  Harry built gasifiers during World War II as a cover for his nighttime activities in the Danish Underground. When the "energy crisis" struck in 1974, Harry gave lectures and demonstrations on gasification in many universities around the East.   He converted a Lincoln Continental stretch limo to WoodGas and demonstrated it and lectured on gasification in many Eastern colleges.

Tom Reed met Harry in 1985.  In 1982 Harry set up a 501-3-C (not for profit) foundation for his activities in biomass.  Reed was invited to be a member of the board of directors of BEF. At that time Tom Reed began to publish books at the Biomass Energy Foundation.

In 1994 Harry died (at age 80) and left the BEF to Dr. Reed to pursue its original purposes.  It is used for research, consulting, publishing and travel activities in the field of biomass and gasification.  The BEF is able and willing to sponsor projects related to these purposes.

Tom Reed in Amsterdam, 2001

Tom Reed in Amsterdam, 2001

Currently Tom Reed is president and his wife Vivian is secretary of the BEF.  Mr. Tom Smith is the treasurer.  We have been publishing books and developing new gasifiers and stoves, and now we are expanding into stove manufacture and pyrolysis to make Biochar and energy from the vast amounts of waste and trash wood and biomass in the world.

Tom and Vivian recently moved from sunny Golden, Colorado to lush green Massachusetts to be close to his daughter Katherine Lathrop and their outstanding Great Rock Alpaca Farm.  They live in an 1850 house on the square in the town of Barre, a self sufficient farm community where Tom spends a lot of his time tending to the garden and brush and other practical matters.  Tom still works with the Biochar Engineering Corporation in Golden designing commercial biochar equipment but has transformed from a City Mouse to a Town mouse and a Country mouse when at Great Rock Alpacas, 4 miles South.

Meanwhile, the executive offices of BEF have moved with Kathy and Jon Nafie to Franktown outside of Denver.  Our stoves and books are shipped from there.

Research In Alternate Energy At BEF

Thomas B. Reed, PhD

Thomas B. Reed, PhD

I am a Physical Chemist (PhD, U. Minn.) and I love research (as well as engineering, teaching, inventing, and now manufacturing stoves).  Following my extended careers at Linde (Praxair) on high temperature research (8 years) and at MIT (18 years in Material Science), I became interested in Alternate Energy and Fuels.  I published a major article in Science on Methanol as the Fuel of the Future in 1973 that totally changed my career.

I have a laboratory where I perform experiments on biomass pyrolysis and gasification and make stoves.

I have been working on small gasifiers since 1980.  Because of my familiarity with making woodgas, I began work on gasifiers for clean efficient cooking in this world of 3 billion people who cook substandard meals, wasting large amounts of wood.  We are currently manufacturing and selling WoodGas stoves for all who want to cook more cleanly with wood.  (After ten years of development and testing, they are now being manufactured from stainless steel in India.  Others have copied our design, and there are probably over 200,000 WoodGas stoves of various design in the world.  We are happy to have others also making these developments, and Dr. Paul Anderson on our Board of Directors travels and lectures continually on a wide variety of related WoodGas stoves that he has designed.