The following are summaries of nine sessions in three tracks (Innovative Conversion Technologies, Advanced Biofuels, Sustainable Feedstocks) taking place at Bioeconomy 2018 on November 9. For a full schedule, visit the agenda on the ABLC Global 2018 website.

11 a.m.

Innovative Conversion Technologies Track: Circular Bioeconomy

Moderators: David Babson and Nichole Fitzgerald, DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO)

As a primary component of many materials and most fuels, carbon is the backbone of the modern economy. However, inefficiencies in the design and production of both products and fuels allows carbon to be wasted and either emitted into the atmosphere as CO2 or trapped in discarded single-use products without the possibility of upcycling. This session will explore the potential opportunities to better design products, biomass conversion systems, and material reuse strategies to enable the sustainable and circular management of carbon resources for a new carbon economy. 

Specifically speakers will address:

  • Viewing the bioeconomy through the lens of carbon management
  • Designing bioproducts and bioplastics for a circular carbon economy
  • Strategies for upcycling products and plastics at end-use for reuse

Speakers include:

  • Eugene Chen, professor, Colorado State University
  • Gregg Beckham, senior research fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Sean McCoy, energy analyst, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Advanced Biofuels Track: Aviation and Maritime Sector

Moderator: Zia Haq, BETO

This session will explore the potential for advanced biofuels in the commercial aviation and maritime sectors. The energy density requirement for propulsion purposes necessitates the use of liquid transportation fuels in these sectors. The panel will discuss progress that has been made and future research and development needs.

Speakers include:

  • Bart Hellings, head of innovation, GoodFuels
  • Med Colket, consultant, National Jet Fuels Combustion Program
  • Matt Leuck, technical manager, Neste
  • Anthe George, Sandia National Laboratories

Sustainable Feedstocks Track: Frontiers of Algae Research and Cultivation

Moderator: Devinn Lambert, BETO

Intentionally cultivated algae grown for the bioeconomy have been catching the headlines of Forbes, featured as a cover story in Nature Biotechnology, lauded in CNN Tech, and filmed on 60 Minutes. The Sustainable Feedstocks track will bring together industry leaders whose innovations contributed to these headlines. Discussion will include:

  • Helping fuel the future with algal genomics research at the Joint Genome Institute
  • Embracing variance in algae cultivation and the role high throughput technologies can serve in fast-tracking R&D
  • Increasing productivity of Synthetic Genomics by exploring algae’s genetic potential
  • Improving plant operations to increase algal productivity and commercial potential

Speakers include:

  • David Hazlebeck, founder and CEO, Global Algae Innovations
  • Igor Grigoriev, program head and senior scientist, Joint Genome Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Rob Brown, vice-president, Phototrophic Systems, Synthetic Genomics
  • Alina Corcoran, research scientist, New Mexico Consortium

1:15 p.m.

Innovative Conversion Technologies Track: Biochemical Processing in 2030

Moderators: Jeremy Leong and Beau Hoffman, BETO

To sustain the momentum of recent molecular biology and genetic engineering breakthroughs, it is now the bioprocessing field's turn to develop equally disruptive approaches for the bioeconomy. In this session, we will explore some of the most promising technologies (and some remaining challenges to implementation) needed to realize next-generation biochemical and biofuel processes. These include the use of cell-free biosynthesis systems, continuous fermentations, and co-utilization of nanocellulose with bioplastics production for use in next-generation materials.

Speakers include:

  • James Bowie, professor, UCLA Department of Chemical and Biochemistry
  • Kim Nelson, vice-president of nanocellulose technology, American Process Inc.
  • Yannick Bomble, research scientist, NREL
  • Murray McLaughlin, president, McLaughlin Associates

Advanced Biofuels Track: Opportunities around the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines

Moderator: Alicia Lindauer, BETO

The Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative aims to simultaneously transform both transportation fuels and vehicles in order to maximize performance and energy efficiency, minimize environmental impact, and accelerate widespread adoption of innovative combustion strategies. This is a collaboration between DOE, nine national laboratories, and industry to combine biofuels and combustion R&D, building on decades of advances in both fuels and engines. This session will focus on:

  • Overall goals, approach, and current status of DOE’s Co-Optima Initiative
  • Co-Optima’s progress to date in bio-blendstock evaluation
  • Perspectives from industry on what biofuels can offer both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicle engine manufacturers

Speakers include:

  • Daniel Gaspar, manager, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • David Brooks, director, Global Propulsion Systems Research Lab, General Motors
  • John Deur, director, Combustion Research, Cummins Corporate Research & Technology
  • John Farrell, laboratory program manager,  NREL

Sustainable Feedstock Track: Harvesting and Preprocessing

Moderator: Mark Elless, BETO

This Sustainable Feedstock track will focus on feedstock harvesting and preprocessing operations to provide sustainable, high-value, affordable feedstocks that have reduced variability in biomass quality and increased handling efficiency. This session will focus on this subject with speakers on:

  • Sustainable feedstock harvesting of biomass
  • Preprocessing innovations that improve feedstock quality
  • Enhanced quality for efficient feeding and conveyance of biomass for conversion

Speakers include:

  • Kevin Comer, associate principle, Antares
  • Chenlin Li, senior research engineer, Idaho National Laboratory
  • Glenn Farris, consultant, Lee Enterprises Consulting Inc.
  • Carrie Hartford, technical sales manager/senior project engineer, Jenike & Johanson Inc.

2:25 p.m.

Innovative Conversion Technologies Track: Value-Added Products

Moderators: Andrea Bailey and Jay Fitzgerald, BETO

This session will highlight strategies for developing compounds that take advantage of the unique structural properties of biomass and offer novel functionality or improved performance attributes over their conventional counterparts. Examples of novel functionality might include plastics that biodegrade readily or detergents that are effective in colder water. Speakers will discuss:

  • Engineering biological systems to produce molecules of interest
  • Developing computational models to determine catalytic routes to compounds of interest
  • Converting lignin into novel high-value monomers

Speakers include:

  • Adam Safir, VP, Materials Development, Zymergen
  • Mahdi Abu Omar, Mellichamp Professor of Green Chemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Linda Broadbelt, professor, Northwestern University

Advanced Biofuels Track: Bioprocess Scaleup and Development Emerging Opportunities

Moderator: Mark Shmorhun, BETO

Scaleup and demonstration of process technology is challenging and essential to the growth of the bio-based fuels, products, and energy industries. This panel will explore the technical and commercial challenges and accomplishments experienced by a diverse group of industry leaders representing:

  • Gen 1.5 cellulosic ethanol production from corn kernel fiber
  • Gen 2.0 cellulosic ethanol production from renewable feedstocks
  • Enhanced biogas production in anaerobic digestion

Speakers include:

  • Dave Bushong, senior vice-president of research, POET
  • Mark Yancey, CTO, D3Max
  • Yaniv Scherson, managing director, Anaergia

Sustainable Feedstocks Track: Landscape Design for the Future Bioeconomy

Moderator: Kristen Johnson, BETO

The benefits of biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower largely depend on how feedstock production systems are integrated into existing agricultural landscapes. Through powerful analyses and field studies, researchers are finding ways to understand the economic and environmental dynamics of biomass feedstocks and leverage their unique properties to transform landscapes into multifunctional systems with improved economic and environmental performance. This session will focus on:

  • Integrated economic and environmental analyses on biomass supply
  • Quantifying ecosystem services of energy crops
  • Analytics to identify profitable subfield opportunities for energy crops
  • Using landscape design and marginal lands for biomass feedstocks

Speakers include:

  • Madhu Khanna, sustainability lead, Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation
  • Cristina Negri, director, Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Lab
  • David Muth, vice-president, Agronomic Planning, EFC Systems
  • John Field, env. sustainability team lead, Colorado State University