This award will support a symposium during the summer of 2011 on the themochemical conversion of biomass to liquid fuels, to be held at Oklahoma State University in conjunction with the annual meeting of the USDA Multi-state "Science and Engineering for a Biobased Economy" Research Committee. The purpose of this symposium is to educate both the Committee and the Oklahoma biomass conversion research community on the latest innovations in bioenergy and biobased products, with special emphasis on thermochemical conversion of biomass to liquid fuels. The symposium will host 7-8 speakers, covering the following topics: biomass gasification, pyrolysis, conversion of bio-oil to useful products, and conversion of syngas to alcohols through heterogeneous and biological catalysis. All speakers will be nationally recognized experts in their respective research areas.
There is a large community of researchers at Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, and local Oklahoma companies who are interested in thermochemical conversion of biomass to liquid fuels. The symposium will also encourage participation from the Native American nations that are in close proximity to the Oklahoma State University campus in order to educate their leaders about how their nations could benefit from potential opportunities offered through thermochemical biomass conversion technology. Graduate and undergraduate students on campus for summer research will also be encouraged to attend the symposium, which will allow them to interact with top researchers in bioenergy. The symposium will also promote the Oklahoma-EPSCoR NSF project on Bioenergy that is currently underway.
Intellectual Merit: A one day symposium was held on the campus of Oklahoma State University on August 2, 2011. The symposium included lectures from 8 researchers on thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels. In addition there were 43 posters presented on a variety of topics related to bioenergy. Researchers from across the United States attended the symposium and presented research. Several key topics were covered, which included pyrolysis, gasification, heterogenous catalysis to produce fuels from syngas and sugars and microbial catalysis to produce ethanol from syngas. The speakers included individuals from government and academia who are recognized leaders in the area of thermochemical conversion of biomass. Broader Impacts: Over 50 people attended the symposium including representatives from academia, industry and government. The audience included over 10 graduate students who were exposed to research from some of the top researchers in the area of thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels. Also, three researchers who presented lectures are funded by an NSF-EPSCoR grant. Their lectures were able to highlight several positive outcomes from NSF funding. During breaks researchers were able to network and establish relationships that may lead to future collaborations in both research and teaching. The symposium was extensively advertised on the OSU campus and within the bioenergy community.