When I arrived at the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) a little over a year ago, I immediately saw the unique position we have to enable sizeable economic, environmental, and social impacts across the United States. BETO does this directly through the funding of biofuels and bioproducts research in national laboratories, universities, and industry; through these activities, BETO improves the state of the art and shortens the time needed for technologies to be delivered to the market. This has the potential to provide direct economic impact by generating a bioeconomy that utilizes our domestic biomass resources to create jobs and economic stimulation in both rural and more urban communities throughout the country. The future does not need to be a decision of “clean energy OR energy independence,” but instead, these items complement each other and can be achieved simultaneously.
In my early days at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), I was excited about all the things being done in the Office and I wanted to find a way to share our thoughts and activities with the public. Aside from the more obvious and direct impact BETO has in terms of funding research and advancing technologies, the Office has the potential to communicate to the public on topics relevant to the bioenergy sector. The Bioenergy Blog, which has existed since 2012, details news related to BETO, with an aim to inform the public on funding opportunities, special events, and new initiatives within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. However, my colleagues and I felt that there was an opportunity for this office to provide a more technical and detailed voice, and this newly-launched platform will strive for that. Here are four quick things to know about our new technology blog we’re calling Bioprose, which will give you an idea of where it’s headed and the added value it provides.
This blog will have a technical focus.
Great work is constantly being produced by BETO partners and these successes, along with announcements of BETO events and funding opportunities, are often mentioned in the Bioenergy Blog in a general manner. This blog will similarly discuss accomplishments from BETO-funded research but will take a more focused, technical approach. We will dig into the scientific specifics in short, to-the-point posts aimed at conveying the big picture of how particular achievements encourage the bioeconomy. Personally, I’ll look at this blog as a success if we can increase the scientific literacy of individuals who approach clean energy without much background knowledge.
BETO can now be a part of the broader conversation as it happens.
While we love to boast about our own victories in biofuels and bioproducts research and development, we also intend to give BETO a voice in trending discussions about issues that affect the bioeconomy. By giving us a platform to dive into matters of scientific interest, we hope to provide a fact based BETO-centric viewpoint to the interested public. If a story pops up in the media that involves biofuels, sustainability, or environmental issues that are relevant to what we do, we will use this blog to give the public our perspective on the technical aspects of the story and how it relates to the Nation’s efforts in building a bioeconomy. Similarly, if I or other bloggers happen upon an interesting topic related to renewable fuels, we will use Bioprose as an avenue to share that with you and respectfully and factually respond to comments in order to start an informed conversation.
Our target audience: anyone interested in the Scientific Method.
We are excited to discuss bioenergy-related stories with the public. This blog supports the BETO strategic plan to elicit stakeholder engagement and public communication. Our posts will be written with a technical shade but also with the goal of being accessible to anyone willing to read them. If someone stumbles onto our posts and is interested in a topic being discussed, we want that reader to walk away with a technical understanding that is adequate enough to allow him/her to continue to research the subject independently. We also encourage readers to interact with us via the comment section so that we can more accurately address the public’s interests in biotechnology.
A collection of unique voices will be assembled to form a mosaic outlook of the bioeconomy.
The authors of posts to Bioprose will mainly be Technology Managers and Fellows from within BETO. The regular contributors will each have their own personal profile, which will showcase their individual expertise, interests, and background. We also hope to have “guest” contributions from other members of the BETO team and other scientists; this will give the reader the broadest understanding possible of how we leverage technological advances in this field to meet our programmatic goals.
All of us at BETO are pumped to begin a discussion with the public on the potential for the bioeconomy to have a massive impact in our rapidly changing world. This is a really exciting time of research, development, and innovation in the biotechnology field. We are on the verge of potentially mobilizing a billion tons of biomass resources into a vibrant bioeconomy that helps improve quality of life through multiple environmental benefits, such as reducing carbon dioxide input into the atmosphere, improving water quality and soil productivity, while also creating American jobs and boosting the economy. We are eager to share our passion on this subject with you!
Read more blog posts from other technical experts.