USDA Global Conference on Agricultural Biofuels: Research and Ecomonics (Minneapolis, Minnesota - August 20-22, 2007)


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Organizing Committee

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Organizing Committee:
Agricultural Research Service (ARS):
Dr. Pai-Yei Whung, Co-Chair
Dr. Chad Haynes
Ms. Eileen Herrera
Ms. Kim Kaplan

Rural Development (RD):
Ms. Chris Cassidy
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS):
Ms. Susan Owens, Co-Chair
Mr. Steve Beasley
Mr. Gary Laidig                       
Dr. Karen Laughlin
Mr. Ben Rau
Ms. Linda Habenstreit


University of Minnesota Organizing Committee:
Dr. Abel Ponce de Leon
Dr. Rob King
Dr. Shri Ramaswamy
Dr. Bill Lazarus
Dr. John Vreyens
Ms. Lori Engstrom
Ms. Cynthia Moore
Mr. Marty Moen
Ms. Kelsey Wall
Ms. Mary Buschette
Mr. Todd Reubold
Dr. Judd Sheridan
Mr. Dick Hemmingsen
Ms. Sara Schmitz



The objective of this conference is to bring together key international technical experts from government and public institutions from current and future liquid biofuels producing and consuming countries to share information and experiences on the science, technology and economics of biofuels development.  Participating countries from a diverse range of economies will seek consensus on steps to improve future collaboration, especially in the area of research.  The target audience from invited countries is government and other public officials who will engage in discussions with U.S. public sector officials and receive specialized briefings from experts.

August 20, 2007

Opening Ceremony and Keynote Address

Moderator:  Michael Yost, Administrator, FAS  
             Department of Agriculture (USDA)
             Dr. R. Timothy Mulcahy, Vice President for Research,
            University of Minnesota                       
USDA’s Role in Global Bioenergy Development
             Dr. Gale Buchanan
Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics
             U.S. Department of Agriculture

Science and Technology Sessions

Biofuels: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
The natural resource and technical challenges and opportunities associated with the burgeoning bioeconomy

Moderator:  Dr. Pai-Yei Whung, Director, Office of International Research Programs, Agricultural Research Service, USDA

Role of USDA Research and Development in the Emerging Bioeconomy
Dr. Ghassem Asrar
, Deputy Administrator, Natural Resources and Sustainable
Agricultural Systems, Agricultural Research Service, USDA


EC Research Priorities in the Area of Bio-Based Products
Dr. Laurent Bochereau,
Head of Science, Technology and Education Section Delegation of the European Commission to the US


The Promise of Energy Biosciences
Dr. Steve Koonin, Chief Scientist, BP, p.l.c.

10:05AM-10:30 AM

Challenges and Perspectives for RD&I for Brazilian Agroenergy
Dr. Kepler Euclides Filho, Executive Director, Empresa Brasileira
de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Embrapa – Brazil

Morning Break 11:00AM-11:20AM

Science and Technology Panels

Second Generation Feedstocks
Prospects for “second generation” feedstock technologies

Moderator:  Dr. Steven Shafer, Area Director, USDA-ARS

Biotechnology Options for Bioenergy Crops, Dr. Richard Flavell, Chief Scientific Officer, Ceres, Inc., USA

Switchgrass:  Production, Economics, and Net Energy, Dr. Ken Vogel, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, Lincoln, Nebraska

United Kingdom Biofuel Activities, Initiatives and Successes:  Scientific and technological development of agricultural production and conversion for biofuels, Dr. Melvyn F. Askew,
CSL Fellow, Central Science Laboratory (CSL), York, United Kingdom

Q/A (10 minutes)

Lunch 12:30PM-1:30PM
Agricultural Production and Biomass Conversion
Biomass Production and Feedstock Options, Conversion challenges, decision making tools and impacts on the development of feedstocks

Moderator:  Dr. Allen S. Levine       
Dean, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, University of Minnesota

Biofuel Feedstock Options and Conversion Platforms for Today and Tomorrow,
Dr. Kevin Hicks, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania

Sweet Sorghum: A dryland-adapted, pro-poor bioethanol feedstock yielding both grain and fuel,
Dr. Belum V.S. Reddy, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India

Biodiesel: Brazilian Perspective. New and Future Feedstocks for its Production. The Official Brazilian Biodiesel Test Program, Dr. Miguel Dabdoub, Sao Paulo Biofuels Association, Brazil

Biomass Production Decision Making Tools and Planning, Dr. Robert Anex
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Iowa State University

Q/A (10 minutes)

Afternoon Break 3:10PM-3:30PM
Sustainable Production & Environmental Considerations
Technical challenges of biofuel crops to enhance their sustainability

Moderator:  Dr. Robert P. Elde, Dean, College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Making Crop Residues a Sustainable Feedstock for Biofuel Production, Dr. Wallace Wilhelm, Plant Physiologist, USDA-ARS and Director of the Renewable Energy Assessment Project

Sustainability of Biomass Production in Context, Dr. David I. Bransby, Professor, Energy Crops and Bioenergy, Auburn University, Alabama

Ethanol Production and Water Quality, Dr. Thomas W. Simpson, Professor, University of Maryland

Biofuels from Perennial Prairie Plant Polycultures and the Ecosystem Services they Provide,
Dr. Jason Hill, Research Associate, University of Minnesota

Biofuel Climatic Risks Zoning in Brazil, Dr. Eduardo Assad, Agroclimatologist, Embrapa, Brazil

Q/A (10 minutes)

Final announcements and closing for the day 5:20PM
Reception, hosted by the University of Minnesota  
Bus departs from Crowne Plaza hotel 5:30PM
Reception hosted by the University of Minnesota
        Eastcliff, residence of the President of the University of Minnesota
        176 N. Mississippi River Boulevard
        St. Paul, MN 55104        
Return to hotel  7:30PM

August 21, 2007

Economic Impacts and Outlook Panels

Commercialization and Economic Impacts Considerations             
Economic impacts of biofuels on farmers, processors, fuel end users, and producers of other agricultural commodities and on commercialization of biofuels

Moderator:  Mr. William (Bill) Lee, Former President, Renewable Fuels Association

Bioproducts - Everything Old is New Again, Dr. Roger Conway, Director, Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, USDA

Dr. Yue Guojun, Assistant President, Cofco Ltd.

Future Biofuels Policy Alternatives, Dr. Wallace E. Tyner, Professor Agricultural Economics, Purdue University

Commercialization of First Generation Biofuels, Dr. Vernon Eidman, Professor Emeritus and former Head, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

Q/A (20 minutes)

Morning Break 10:10AM-10:30AM
International Biofuels Economic Outlook Panel             
Current international economic outlook for biofuels production

Moderator: Dr. Melvyn F. Askew, Central Science Laboratory (CSL), York, United Kingdom

Support for Biofuels — Considerations for Policymakers, Dr. Masami Kojima, Senior Energy and Environment Specialist, World Bank

The World Energy Outlook 2006 – Outlook for Biofuels, Dr. Teresa Malyshev, Senior Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency

Global Biofuels Trends and Economic Forces Determining the Future Size of the Maize-based Ethanol Industry, Dr. Robert N. Wisner, Agricultural Economist & University Professor, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Rising Biofuels Prices – Blessing or Curse for Food Security? Dr. A. Arslan Gürkan, Chief, Commodities and Trade Division, Economic and Social Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Q/A (20 minutes)

Lunch 12:00PM-1:00PM

International Perspectives Sessions

Mr. Michael Yost, Administrator, USDA-FAS
International Perspectives Session A

Moderator:  Ms. Constance Jackson, Associate Administrator, USDA-FAS

International Country Representatives:

Bio-diesel research and production in Kenya, Dr. Joseph Keriko, Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Nairobi, Kenya

Agricultural biofuels – Bulgarian Perspectives, Prof. Atanas Atanassov, AgroBioInstitute, Director, Bulgaria

Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR), Central German Co-Ordination Agency for the Promotion and Dissemination of Renewable Resources, Mr. Ronny Winkelmann, Project Manager, Agency of Renewable Resources, Germany

Commercialisation of biofuels in Poland, Podlaski Sławomir, Warsaw Agricultural University Warsaw, Poland

Biofuels – activities in Sweden, Mr. Fredrik Odelram, Senior Administrative Officer, Agriculture and Forestry Division, Sweden

Afternoon Break 2:45PM-3:00PM
International Perspectives Session B

Moderator:  Dr. Asif Chaudhry, Deputy Administrator, Office of Global Analysis, USDA-FAS

Non-food feedstock and the road map of China’s bioethanol industry, Dr. Shi-Zhong Li, Institute of New Energy, Tsinghua University, Beijing - PRC

Current status of research and development on Jatropha (Jatropha curcus) for sustainable biofuel production in India, Dr. M.S. Punia,  Executive Director, National Oilseeds and Vegetable Oils Development Board, Ministry of Agriculture, Haryana, India

Biofuel development in Indonesia, Ms. Yanni Kussuryani, Coordinator of Process Technology Research Programme Group, Department of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia

Technological progress and commercialization of biodiesel in Malaysia, Mr. Mohammed Basri Wahid, Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

Latin America:
Bioenergy value chain construction methodology, Mr. Miguel Almada, Secretariat of Agriculture Livestock, Fishing and Food; and Mr. Martín Fraguío, Director, Argentine Corn Association, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Closing Ceremony

Moderator:  Dr. Gale Buchanan, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, USDA  
Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC)
Ambassador Reno L. Harnish III, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Closing Remarks
Mr. Thomas C. Dorr
Under Secretary for Rural Development
U.S. Department of Agriculture

August 22, 2007

Biofuels Field Trip

Depart from Crowne Plaza hotel 7:30AM
Travel Hotel to Litchfield (1.5 hours approx)  
AgStar Financial-financing the biofuels industry                                     
Mark Schmidt
Travel to Litchfield to Benson (1.25 hours)  
Farm visit enroute (tentative) 10:30AM
Lunch 11:45AM
Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson                                     
Bill Lee, General Manager             
Travel Benson to Morris  
Community-based Energy Platform program
Lowell Rasmussen, Associate Vice Chancellor
University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center
Morris, Minnesota (1 hour)
Morris to Hotel (3 hours approx)  
Return to Crowne Plaza hotel: 7:30PM


Last Updated: 08/09/2007