Biobased fuels the subject of March workshop in Wooster

Biobased fuels and products — those made from crops and waste from farms — are the focus of an upcoming workshop in Wooster.

Advanced Biobased Systems: Growing an Industry is March 16 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave.

It’s for anyone involved with or interested in the biobased industry, said organizer Ajay Shah, an assistant professor at OARDC and the head of its Biobased Systems Analysis Lab, the sponsor of the event.

Expected to attend are farmers, scientists, processors, manufacturers, commodity representatives, and people in the ethanol, biodiesel and transportation industries, Shah said.

“The potential of agricultural biomass as a renewable feedstock for fuels and chemicals continues to grow,” he said. “But there’s still a need to make biobased systems more efficient, environmentally friendly, and technically and economically viable.”

Featured speaker is Iowa State’s Keener

The workshop hopes to foster such progress, Shah said. Speakers from academia and industry, including featured speaker Kevin Keener from Iowa State University, will share their ideas and perspectives. There will be time for networking and discussion.

Keener, who’s a food science and human nutrition professor at Iowa State and directs its Center for Crops Utilization Research and BioCentury Research Farm, will speak on “Biomass Utilization in Iowa: Research and Technology Development.”

Also speakers from Ohio State, industry

Shah will present “Feedstock for Biobased Industries” based on his research as a faculty member in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. Both the department and OARDC are part of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

Also scheduled to speak are:

  • Denny Hall, director of Ohio State’s OBIC Bioproducts Innovation Center, on “Biobased Industries: Setting the Stage.”
  • Ana Alonso, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Molecular Genetics, on “Pennycress as a Next Generation Feedstock.”
  • Thaddeus Ezeji, associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Animal Sciences, which also is part of CFAES, on “Biomass Conversion to Biofuels and Other Products.”
  • Prabhat Krishnaswamy, senior vice president with Columbus-based EMC2, on “Utilizing Biobased Fibers for Composites.”
  • Fred Circle, president of FDC Enterprises of Springfield, on “Feedstock Logistics for Biobased Industries” and “Bioproducts Case Study: Thermal Energy from Locally Grown Switchgrasses.”

The speakers from Ohio State “will focus on their research, including the development of crops and processes for biobased energy and products,” Shah said.

‘What’s happening in the real world’

The industry speakers “will highlight what’s happening in the real world, including successes and challenges,” he said.

The workshop is from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in OARDC’s Shisler Conference Center. Wooster is about 30 miles east of Akron, 60 miles south of Cleveland and 95 miles north of Columbus.

Register by March 7, save $10

Registration for the event, which includes continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments, is $50 by March 7 and $60 afterward. Details and a registration form can be downloaded at go.osu.edu/BiobasedWorkshop.

For more information, contact Mary Wicks of OARDC at wicks.14@osu.edu or 330-202-3533.

The OBIC center, the OARDC-based BioHio Research Park and Ohio State’s Sustainability and Resilient Economy Discovery Theme are also supporting the workshop.

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