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Growing the bioeconomy in uncertain times

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, the U.S. bioeconomy is facing challenges.

On Friday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, The Ohio State University’s Advanced BioSystems Workshop will look at those challenges and will brainstorm ways for research, technology, and the government to address them.

Workshop organizer Ajay Shah, agricultural engineer with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), said plant-based fuels and products “have the potential to decrease U.S. dependence on petroleum feedstocks, improving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new industries.”

But he said the COVID-19 pandemic and other uncertainties have affected biobased industries in major ways, including in the areas of funding availability and simply the ability of businesses to survive.

Following a keynote address, three breakout sessions, and a panel discussion and Q&A, the workshop’s participants will produce a report “that will help entrepreneurs, policymakers, and regulators develop strategies for moving forward,” Shah said.

Doris de Guzman of Tecnon OrbiChem and the Green Chemicals Blog will give the keynote address, “Developments in Biobased Materials Markets.”

Shah will present “Targeting Solutions for Components of the Bioeconomy” as a lead-in to the breakout sessions.

The breakout sessions — participants can attend only one of them — will feature:

  • “Biobased Products and Fuel,” facilitated by CFAES’ Denny Hall
  • “BioSystems Logistics From Crops to Market,” facilitated by Jill Adelsberger of Cargill
  • “Policy and Governance,” facilitated by Alexa Combelic of the American Soybean Association

The event will take place virtually. Registration is $25. The workshop flyer, which includes descriptions of the breakout sessions, can be downloaded at go.osu.edu/B26k. Online registration is available at go.osu.edu/B26p, or you can fill out and mail the registration form included in the flyer.

Instructions for connecting online or by phone will be sent about a week before the workshop.

When registering, participants should indicate the breakout session they want to attend, because each session will have separate login details.

For more information, contact Mary Wicks of CFAES’ Program for Bioproducts and the Environment at wicks.14@osu.edu or 330-202-3533.

CFAES is organizing the event with support from the Ohio Soybean Council.

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