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Bioeconomy Conference December 2009



The 2009 Bio eConference—“Growing the Bioeconomy: Solutions for Sustainability”—is a 12-state alliance of simultaneous state conferences. These co-host sites will be sharing content through high-speed communication systems to promote agriculturally-based sustainable solutions to global climate change and energy supply. The conference will tackle the sustainability challenge by: bioepic2

  • Exploring a systems perspective on biorenewables.
  • Offering solutions to current questions regarding grain ethanol.
  • Examining the potential role of biochar as an agent for carbon sequestration.
  • Discussing the implementation of new ideas for land stewardship with biofuels agriculture.

Keynote address: James E. Lovelock, Ph.D.

One of the world’s most renowned thinkers on global environmental science, Dr. Lovelock has called upon farmers to convert agricultural residues to biochar for incorporation into the soil as the only solution to global climate change.

Conference Agenda 

Please note: Conference times are Central Standard Time (CST)

8:00 - 9:00 am Registration, NDSU Memorial Union Great Rooom

View the following remote broadcast sessions in a group setting, with local discussions. Each room will have a facilitator who will send in questions to the panel for discussion and facilitate group discussions.

Introductions and Welcome

9:00 am (CST)

Jack Payne, Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach

9:05 am (CST)

Gregory Geoffroy, President of Iowa State University and David Chicoine, President of South Dakota State University

Plenary Session:

9:15 am (CST)

James E. Lovelock, Keynote address: Conversion of agricultural residues into biochar for incorporation into agricultural soils as the solution to global climate change.

10:00 am (CST)

Johannes Lehmann, Plenary address: The potential of biochar production, in combination with bioenergy production, to improve nutrient retention in soils and removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

10:30 am (CST)

Matt Liebman, Plenary address: Use of perennial species as biofuels feedstocks at particular locations within agroecosystems can provide important services, including soil, water, and nature conservation, while complementing food and feed production.

11:00 am (CST)

 Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy



11:30 am (CST) Lunch

Concurrent Session I

1:00 pm (CST)

Track 1 : Net greenhouse gas emission from biofuel systems

Robert Larson will discuss potential impacts of life cycle assessment and policies for the biofuel industry.

Shashi Verma, Ph.D.: will discuss how field scale measurements of net greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration are measured and the findings from corn-soybean production systems.

Adam Liska, Ph.D.: will discuss life cycle assessment for corn and cellulosic ethanol production.

Richard Perrin, Ph.D.: will discuss the economics of biomass based combined heat and power as a means of reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions in corn-ethanol production.

Track 2 : Non-traditional feedstocks

Kurt Thelen, Ph.D.: will discuss the agronomics of producing perennial grasses including switchgrass and miscanthus.

Cole Gustafson, Ph.D.: will talk about handling, storage and logistics of biomass crops including corncobs and corn stover.

Scott Swinton, Ph.D.: will present a case study that compares the profitability of producing switchgrass and miscanthus to corn.



3:00 pm (CST)

On and off-site break


3:30 pm (CST)

Track 3 : Advances and Breakthroughs in biofuels, Live at NDSU.

Charles R. Hurburgh, Jr., Ph.D.: will present a summary of advances related to corn based biofuels. Corn based biofuels, if coupled with several emerging technologies, can be more energy efficient than commonly believed and capable of distributing more key nutrients to livestock fed co-products.

 Andrew Zurn: will present information on advances in ethanol production using biogas from a gasifier in an ethanol plant.

 Doug Berven: will discuss POET Energy’s plan to use corn cobs for ethanol production and advances in starch based ethanol production.

 Roger Ruan, Ph.D.: will discuss advances in pyrolysis of biomass in the production of bio-oils.

Track 4 : Bioenergy economic and policy Issues

Wally Tyner, Ph.D.: will discuss second generation biofuels economic and policy issues with an emphasis on: blending wall, import tariff, market uncertainty, technology uncertainty, feedstock supply, and interaction among all these factors.

Dr. Steven Wu, Ph.D.: will present on contracting issues for second generation perennial crops and will discuss issues of how to design contracts suitable for farmers interested in biomass crops for biofuels production.

Roger Conway, Ph.D.: will discuss program funding opportunities made available through USDA.

Daniel de la Torre Ugarte, Ph.D.: will discuss where bioenergy crops will become feedstock sources and the economic potential for these crops.


5:30 pm (CST)

Conference adjourns

For more information go to Bioeconomy Conference website.

Kenneth Hellevang

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