34th SBFC – Session Topics

Yeast and Fungal Science & Technology

Yeast and fungi are powerful biocatalysts but the ideal microorganism for full and rapid conversion of the multiple substrates in biomass does not exist. This session will present recent research progress with yeast and fungi to overcome the fundamental limitations to rapid bioconversion of biomass substrates. Research topic include new microbial strain discovery, progress using genetic engineering, microbial evolution and systems biology approaches for as well as testing of natural or constructed consortia for bioconversion.

Bacterial Science & Technology I-II

Application of newly developed bacteria for ethanol and other fuel production will be presented in this session. Topics include the fermentative testing of newly development thermophilic bacterial strains, efficiency of bioconversion, the response of microorganisms to pretreated biomass substrates and inhibitors, and the response of advanced microorganisms to genetically-modified biomass sources.

Algae Science & Technology

Algal cultures are becoming more popular for a microbial platform for production of fuels and chemicals. This session will focus on discovery of new algae strains, efficient growth of these organisms, the use of innovated open and closed production systems as well as the practicality of using those systems.

Enzyme Science & Technology I-III

Enzymes are central to biochemical deconstruction of biomass whether added externally or produced by the bioconversion microorganism. This session will highlight advances in enzyme discovery, structural and kinetic analysis, characterization and modification to improve enzyme performance, discovery of new thermophilic enzymes, and the growing interest in lignin-degradation and related enzymes.

Pretreatment & Fractionation I-III

Lignocellulosic biomass is difficult to economically disassemble at high yield due to the presence of highly modified structural carbohydrates and aromatic (lignin) polymers. Papers in this session will discuss recent developments in chemical and biochemical pretreatment or fractionation processes – both existing and new approaches – that make biomass more amenable to cost-effective bioconversion.

Biomass Recalcitrance

Cost-effect deconstruction of biomass to permit rapid bioconversion is challenging and has spurred fundamental studied into why biomass is resistant to bioconversion. While the Pretreatment & Fractionation sessions will focus on the practical aspects of pretreatment; this session will highlight fundamental advances in the study and understanding of plant cell wall structure and composition, emphasizing efforts to improve biomass deconstruction efficiency.

Plant Science & Technology

Research aimed at producing improved plant cultivars is underway worldwide with the goal of producing biomass sources with improved characteristics. This session will highlight research on breeding to improve plant yield, advances in domestication of promising biomass species, in planta expression of enzymes, developments in crops with reduced recalcitrance and better processing characteristics, and advances in plant systems biology research.

Biomass Supply & Sustainability

Existing and newly developed biomass sources will need to be produced and delivered to the biorefinery with the lowest possible cost. They also have to be permanently sustainable. Here we will present studies and demonstrations of biomass production technology, discuss sustainability issues, including land use, economics, and supply chain logistics critical to dramatically reducing the feedstock cost.

Biomass Physicochemical Analysis

Knowledge of the physicochemical properties of biomass often dictated its suitability as a feedstock for biological or thermal conversion. Improved methods for characterization, such as physical or composition analysis, and how this translates to biomass “quality” will be discussed. Technology for rapid analysis for high throughput and screening will be presented in this session.

Bioprocessing & Separations Technology

An economically viable bioprocess requires definitive biomass characterization, effective material handling and bioconversion technologies in combination with efficient downstream product separation and recovery. Papers in this session will describe advances in the development, testing and demonstration of bioconversion processes at various stages of process integration, including improvements in first generation ethanol plants.

Biofuels and Biorefinery Economics & Commercialization

Advanced biofuels technologies are starting to emerge from the laboratory and enter the commercial marketplace. Speakers in this session will describe current efforts and progress in demonstrating and deploying advanced biofuels/biorefining technologies. In addition, this session will contain selected presentations discussing the issues related to delivery and use of alternative fuels in society including delivery logistics, and engine manufacturer acceptance of alternative fuels.

Biobased Chemicals

While fuels are targets for most bioconversion research, many chemicals can be produced from biomass-derived sugars, synthesis gas, or other sustainable substrates. This session will highlight advances in biological production of chemicals, other than fuels. Both commodity chemicals and high-value products will be included.

Emerging Biofuels

Petroleum-based fuels include diesel, jet turbine fuel as well as gasoline. This session will present recent progress in development of new fungible fuels such as biogasoline, jet fuel, higher alcohols, biogas, etc., as technology is developed to meet broader markets aimed at fuller displacement of petroleum and coal with biomass-derived fuels.

Single Special Topic:

US & International Bioenergy Research Center Updates
During the last two years bioenergy research centers and institutes continue to focus on developing fundamental knowledge and applied technology for production of biomass-derived fuels and chemicals. Invited speakers from the three DOE bioenergy research centers plus international bioenergy institute/center speakers will present research goals and progress over the last couple years.