SBFC – Featured Speakers
Monday, April 29 at 12pm
Lee Rybeck Lynd
Title:Biofuels: Making the Case and Making it Work
When: Monday, April 29 at 12pm
Lee Rybeck Lynd is an expert on utilization of plant biomass for production of energy, with distinctively broad contributions spanning the science, technology, and policy domains, and including research on fundamental and biotechnological aspects of microbial cellulose utilization. Dr. Lynd is the Paul and Joan Queneau Distinguished Professor of Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Mascoma Corporation, Focus Area Leader for Biomass Deconstruction and Conversion at the Department of Energy Bioenergy Science Center, and Initiator and Executive Committee Coordinator of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project. A frequently invited presenter on technical and strategic aspects of biomass energy, Dr. Lynd has three times testified before the United States Senate, and has been featured in prominent fora such as Wired, Forbes, Nova, and the Nobel Conference. He is the Inaugural Winner of the Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Award for Inventions and Innovations that Enhance Economic Opportunity and Community Well-Being While Protecting and Restoring the Natural Environment, and recipient of the Charles D. Scott Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Field of Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals.
Biofuels: Making the Case and Making it Work
Lee R. Lynd. Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College; Mascoma Corporation; The Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project; Bioenergy Science Center
Over the 35 year history of this symposium, a central theme has been a vision for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals from cellulosic biomass in a biorefinery wherein fuels provide economies of scale that lower the price of chemicals and chemicals provide coproduct revenues that lower the price of fuels. Notwithstanding many advances and accomplishments, doubts have emerged – particularly with respect to the feasibility and desirability of large-scale cellulosic biofuel production. Addressing these doubts will have a significant impact on the future trajectory the field, and is the focus of this presentation.
Some have argued that we do not need biofuels in light of electrified vehicles and other emerging technologies as well as increasing supplies of unconventional petroleum. New analysis based on the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 report will be presented indicating that about 50% of mobility energy demand is needed from biofuels in a low-carbon future, even with very aggressive measures to reduce transport demand, shift to low-carbon transportation modes, and accelerate deployment of vehicles with energy stored using batteries or hydrogen – and even looking out as far as 2075.
At $60/dry ton, the purchase price of cellulose biomass is $4/GJ, which is equivalent to a petroleum price of $23/barrel. As a result, the cost of processing cellulosic biomass can be about 3 times higher than that of petroleum and still result in competitively priced products. Moreover, it is not clear that cellulosic biomass is inherently more difficult to process than petroleum, particularly given the power of biotechnology. Realization of the potential for cost-effective processing has however been slower than forecast, and success will likely require innovative new approaches.
Much attention has been devoted to whether cellulosic biofuels could be produced on a scale large enough to impact climate change and energy security without compromising important priorities such as food security and avoidance of carbon emissions and habitat loss due to land clearing. Sustainably increasing crop yields are likely essential in order to meet increasing food demand, and can also play an important role in “making room” for bioenergy within currently managed lands. A conceptual framework will be presented for evaluating the extent to which land realizes its productive capacity. New analysis will be presented applying this framework to pastureland, which suggests that intensification of pastureland is a promising strategy for bioenergy feedstock production. It is observed that we need to think of land more like we think of energy, with an emphasis on efficiency, integrated production, and a role for the consumer. Beyond making room for bioenergy, bioenergy needs to be applied in ways that realize broad social and environmental benefits in order to maximize value and appeal to diverse stakeholders.
Thursday, May 2 at 7pm
Dr. Doug Eveleigh
Title:Cellulase – The Greatest Show on Earth
When: Thursday, May 2 at 7pm
Doug Eveleigh holds the Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology, Rutgers University. Graduating in mycology, University of Exeter, UK, he studied at the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, Halifax, the US Army Natick Laboratories and the University of Wisconsin. He worked at the NRC Laboratory, Saskatoon, Sask, and joined Rutgers University, 1970. His interests address industrial fermentations (cellulase-gasohol: Trichoderma reesei RUT C30, Microbispora bispora and Thermotoga neapolitana, Streptomycetes, Zymomonas), and ecological explorations (endo-mycorrhizae, and the discovery of chitosanase, and also of nitrogen fixation in the bayberry symbiont Frankia. Sabbatical studies include at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna; L’Institute Pasteur, Paris; Horticulture International, Littlehampton; the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, London, UK and the Beijerinck Museum, University of Technology, Delft. He is a microbiological history buff. He received the first SIMB “The Waksman Teaching Award” (1989).
Cellulase – The Greatest Show on Earth
“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872
And other mysteries ranging from Thomas Crapper to the extinction of the dinosaurs.