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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Bioenergy Experts From More Than 40 Countries Meet at International Conference / August 20, 2007 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Gloved hand pours ethanol into lab flask; display of switchgrass stems and barley seed. Link to photo information
Three USDA agencies and the University of Minnesota are hosting more than 40 countries to discuss the latest in bioenergy research and economics. ARS is working on a variety of ways to improve the conversion of agricultural commodities to ethanol, such as the switchgrass and barley shown in the photo. Click the image for more information about it.


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Bioenergy Experts From More Than 40 Countries Meet at International Conference

By Kim Kaplan
August 20, 2007

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20—Scientists, economists and policy experts representing government and public institutions from more than 40 countries are meeting at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Global Conference on Agricultural Biofuels: Research and Economics in Minneapolis, Minn., August 20-21, to exchange the latest information on economic and technological opportunities in bioenergy.

Several USDA agencies—the Agricultural Research Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and Rural Development—and the University of Minnesota are sponsoring the conference.

"Our goal in this conference, where we have brought together key experts and decision-makers from biofuel producing and consuming countries, is to gain perspective on the next steps in biofuel development and to improve opportunities for future collaboration, especially in the area of research," said USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Gale Buchanan, who opened the conference.

"Expanding America's renewable energy sources will have far-reaching economic opportunities for rural and agricultural communities," said USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr, who is also chairman of the USDA Energy Council. "USDA is committed to the development and financing of new energy sources and energy efficiencies that support President Bush's goal of greater energy independence."

"As global markets for biofuels continue to grow in importance, our goal is to bring together key international technical experts from government and public institutions to raise issues, exchange information, share best practices and provide a global platform to highlight and promote agricultural biofuels," said Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Michael Yost.

Countries from a diverse range of developed and developing economies are participating in the conference, including Japan, India, Kenya, Russia, Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, the People's Republic of China, Norway and Brazil.

Other speakers at the conference include Steve E. Koonin, chief scientist, British Petroleum; Richard Flavell, chief scientific officer, Ceres, Inc., United States; Kepler Euclides Filho, executive director of the Bioenergy Program of Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Brazil; and Yue Guojun, assistant president of COFCO, Ltd., in the People's Republic of China.

For more information about the conference, see www.ars.usda.gov/meetings/Biofuel2007/.

Last Modified: 8/20/2007
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