Experts to highlight bioenergy innovations at Sun Grant conference

Scientists from all over the country will convene in Washington, D.C., for the Sun Grant Initiative Energy Conference, March 10-13.

Hosted by Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering Larry Walker, who directs the Cornell-based Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence, the event will feature a bevy of speakers and will showcase the latest innovations in bioenergy research. It will include a renewable energy industries trade show; presentations by experts in biomass production, government policy and markets; and an educational mini-course called Renewable Energy 101.

Among the Cornell speakers will be Antonio Bento, associate professor of applied economics and management, who will speak on the impact on increased U.S. biofuels mandates.

Also on the agenda from Cornell are: Gary Bergstrom, professor of plant pathology, who will discuss making biofuels from agriculture waste and byproducts; Pat Brown, postdoctoral associate in plant breeding, who will address hybrid energy sorghums for the Northeast; and Peter Woodbury, researcher in crops and soils, who will talk about biomass assessment.

Walker will moderate the opening plenary session that will feature representatives from the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Energy and Agriculture.

The Sun Grant Initiative, authorized by Congress in 2002 under the Farm Bill, is a national network of land-grant universities, including Cornell, and federally funded laboratories working to build a bio-based economy. The five Sun Grant centers are charged with reviving America's farming communities by creating rural economic development through the production of bio-based, renewable energy.

The Sun Grant is funded primarily by the U.S. Department of Transportation, with substantial support from the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture.

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Blaine Friedlander