Penn State Extension offers biomass short course in November

By Erin Voegele | October 18, 2013

Penn State Extension has announced plans to host a two-day short course on next generation biomass conversion in Philadelphia Nov. 11-12. The event will feature researchers and biofuel business developers who will discuss issues related to technology, economics, operations, and policy.

Daniel Ciolkosz, an extension associate focused on biomass energy, said the short course is well suited for professionals that need greater familiarly with the biomass area, or want to expand knowledge beyond their specialty. The course will combined an in-depth, specialized overview of technical issues as well as business, policy-related and practical scale-up issues associated with next generation biorefineries, he said.

“Our goal is to provide attendees with information and contacts that will help them successfully develop and support the development of biofuel, biochemicals and bioproducts businesses in the region,” Ciolkosz continued. “As a result, speakers for the event will include experts from industry, government, and academia, who will provide a balanced and thorough examination of critical topics for the future of the bioenergy sector.”

In addition to presentations, the short-course will also feature tours of two nearby biofuel facilities: Renmatix’s research laboratories and test facilities in Valley Forge, Pa., and the USDA Agricultural Research Service Research Lab in Wyndmoor, Pa. “The tour of bioenergy facilities will serve to round out the discussion by giving attendees real examples of working processes and operations,” Ciolkosz said.

Penn State Extension has been offering short courses focused on bioenergy for several years. According to Ciolkosz, the response from the bioenergy community has been strong. In addition to educational opportunity, he also that the courses offer a powerful networking opportunity. “I often find that one of the most valuable aspects of the short courses is the discussion that happens during breaks and between presentations, as attendees share their experiences and draw the speakers out on a variety of topics,” Ciolkosz said. “We're planning for ample opportunities for this kind of networking, including a ‘business development roundtable discussion,’ which promises to be very worthwhile.  There is a very exciting vision unfolding right now for the future of bioenergy in the Northeast, and events like these are pivotal for bringing together the people that will be an integral part of that future.”

Penn State Extension is hosting the course in partnership with the Penn State Biomass Energy Center, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab Advanced Biofuels Process Demonstration Unit and the USDA-sponsored NEWBio Bioenergy Consortium. Additional information, including a detailed agenda, is available here. Online registration is available on the Penn State Extension website.