Renewable Energy Education Field Days: Renewable Energy Technologies

Practical, science-based information on implementing biomass-based renewable energy technologies on the land was provided to producers, landowners and land managers at the Renewable Energy Education Field Days Nov. 16-18, 2010, in Knoxville, Tenn.

The Field Days program was specifically designed to provide landowners and land managers with the information resources they need to make decisions about implementing renewable energy technologies. The program offered multiple opportunities for interaction between Field Day participants and lecturers—experts from private industry, the academic community, NGOs and government agencies.

This Field Days program was a collaboration of Farm Foundation, NFP and five USDA agencies—Rural Development, the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The Field Days curriculum reflected the multiple issues involved in biomass-based energy production—from feedstock production and refinery conversion technologies to handling, storage, legal and financial issues.  Speaker presentations are provided below as available.

Tuesday, Nov. 16

Opening Keynote Address

Sarah Bittleman, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, USDA

Session I – Biomass – Potential and Hurdles

Biofuel Demand

Chris Tindal, DASN Energy Office

An Agricultural Perspective on Biomass Production

Bob Perlack, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A Forestry Perspective on Biomass Production

Robert Rummer, USDA Forest Service

Session II – Biomass Feedstock Production

Selection and Use of Native Grasses for Biomass Feedstocks

John Englert, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Jim Perdue, USDA Forest Service

Equipment needs for feedstock production

Ray Huhnke, Oklahoma State University

Session III – Harvesting, Handling, Transportation and Storage

Steve Searcy, Texas A&M University

James Larson, University of Tennessee

Wednesday, Nov. 17

Session IV – Biomass Conversion Processes: Options and Issues

Engineering and Science of Conversion Processes
Robert Brown, Iowa State University

Economics of conversion processes

Francis Epplin, Oklahoma State University

Session V – Marketing Options and Business Models

Contract agreements and business models

Kelly Tiller, Genera Energy


John J. VanSickle, University of Florida

Biorefinery business models funded by USDA Rural Development

Tony Crooks, USDA Rural Development

Session VI – Case Study: DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol

The Biorefinery From Concept to Operation

Kyle Althoff, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol

Feedstock Production

Brad Black, Color Wheel Farm

Transport and Storage Logistics

Sam Jackson, Genera Energy

Market sources

John Yeager, Rogers Petroleum

Afternoon Tour:  Color Wheel Farm, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol Plant, and Genera Biomass Innovation Park

Thursday, Nov. 18

Session VII – Financial and Legal Concerns

Harrison Pittman, National Agricultural Law Center

Ann Duignan, J.P. Morgan

Christopher Clark, University of Tennessee

Session VIII- Environmental Concerns

Brent Bailey, 25X’25 Alliance

National Water Use Implications of Biofuel Feedstock Production

Noel Gollehon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA

Paul N. Argyropoulos, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Session IX – Government Policies and Programs

Panel discussed government program options:

Bill Hagy, Special Assistant to the Secretary, Renewable Energy Policy, USDA Rural Development

Carmela Bailey, National Institute of Food and Agriculture,USDA Research Education & Economics

Stefanie Aschmann, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Robert Rummer, U.S. Forest Service

Valri Lightner, National Biomass Program Office, U.S. Department of Energy


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