News | Agriculture

Conference examines future of biofuels production

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Cropfields could play a major role in future energy needs, and some of the world’s top researchers will discuss the challenges and opportunities for agriculture in the renewable fuels industry during a conference co-sponsored by Purdue University.

Growing the Bioeconomy: Solutions for Sustainability takes place from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST Tuesday (Dec. 1). The conference is a collaborative effort between Purdue and sister land-grant universities in 11 other Midwest states. The event is open to the public.

Small-scale biodiesel production.Purdue Extension and Purdue’s Energy Center at Discovery Park are hosting a conference viewing site in Stewart Center, Room 306, on the university’s West Lafayette campus. The conference also can be viewed online.

Registration is $25 for those viewing the conference at Stewart Center and $50 for online viewing.

Fuel produced from corn stover, switchgrass and other types of plant cellulose presents new markets for agriculture, said Chad Martin, Purdue Extension renewable energy specialist.

“New opportunities from greater utilization of biomass resources for energy production may likely initiate a dynamic change for how agricultural business is conducted in places like rural Indiana,” Martin said. “International and U.S. experts will convene through this conference to shed light on the views of climate change and how emerging policy decisions could impact energy production technology.”

Conference speakers will address a broad range of topics, from commodity feedstocks to uses for biochar – the leftover material after cellulose is converted into fuel.

Purdue agricultural economists Wally Tyner and Steven Wu are among the speakers. Tyner will discuss second-generation biofuels economic and policy matters, with Wu delving into contracting issues between growers and biofuels producers.

James Lovelock, a renowned expert on global environmental science, is the conference’s keynote speaker. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also will make remarks to conference participants.

Registration information is available by visiting the Purdue Renewable Energy Web site at and clicking on the link to the conference on the right side of the home page.

For additional conference information, including an agenda, visit the conference Web site at

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