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May 18, 2007

Bioenergy Symposium to highlight Purdue, region's biofuels research

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's Energy Center in Discovery Park and the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering will hold a conference next week on the potential regional and national benefits of advancing the proper role of biofuels as an alternative energy source.

Titled "Biofuels: Regional Needs, National Challenges," the 2007 Bioenergy Symposium will begin at 12:30 p.m. Monday (May 21) in Stewart Center, Room 218. The conference will continue Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The 2007 Bioenergy Symposium will showcase current research activities by Purdue and other Midwest universities, as well as commercialization and policy issues regarding biofuels, with an emphasis on dry grind plants, co-product utilization, biodiesel fuel and cellulose ethanol.

The conference is especially timely, with gasoline prices in Indiana and across the nation reaching record levels this week and forecasters calling for prices as high as $4 a gallon this summer.

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"We must stress the urgency of a broad strategy to address our nation's energy needs," said Jay Gore, who is interim director of the Energy Center, associate dean of engineering for research and entrepreneurship, and the Vincent P. Reilly Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering.

"Everyone is affected when gasoline costs $4 a gallon, and this conference will demonstrate and showcase the advances we are making regionally in the biofuels arena to address this national challenge."

Cost of the two-day conference is $100 per participant. Students can attend for free if they pre-register, or pay $25 at the door. For more information or to register, go to: .

Parallel sessions are planned from 1:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday by private industry leaders and researchers at Purdue, the University of Notre Dame and Ball State University. A poster session on alternative energy and biofuels research will follow at 5:15 p.m. in the Purdue Memorial Union's East and West Faculty Lounge.

Andy Miller, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, will discuss the state's biofuels initiatives and also give an update on BioTown, USA, at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Launched in 2005, BioTown, USA at Reynolds, Ind., is now the country's first effort toward creating communities where all energy needs are met through biorenewable resources.

Charles Smith, president and chief executive officer at Countrymark Co-op, will give a presentation titled "Entrepreneur's View" at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Another highlight is a discussion on environmental permitting and compliance at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday. Panelists scheduled are Christopher "Kit" Earle and Matthew Klein of the law firm Bose McKinney & Evans LLP; air permitting consultant David Jordan; and Mark Basch of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Water.

Gina Sheets, director of the Clinton County Economic Development Corp., will discuss local and regional economic development efforts surrounding biofuels at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

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Event co-organizer Michael Ladisch, director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and distinguished professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue, said Purdue researchers are advancing industrial bioenergy processes and novel methods for transforming renewable resources into bioproducts.

"Many exciting bioenergy developments have occurred across the country this year, both in research and application in commercial facilities," Ladisch said. "At Purdue, with our focus on bringing together researchers from multiple disciplines, we are working with industry to make the biofuels production process more efficient and a viable alternative to fossil fuels."

The Energy Center, which was launched in July 2005 with seed money from the Lilly Endowment, brings together more than 75 Purdue experts.

Faculty, researchers, students and staff at Purdue's Energy Center are working with counterparts at similar institutions nationwide and globally, as well as corporations, and local, state and national governments to develop the science, engineering and technology of economically and environmentally sound energy solutions. The center's researchers also are focused on helping change policies and perceptions about energy consumption.

The Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering was established in 1978 to carry out research on transforming renewable resources to liquid fuels. Its research has evolved from biofuels to its current leadership role in the areas of biotechnology and engineering and an interdisciplinary focus on bioenergy, bioprocessing, bioproducts, bionanotechnology and biorecovery.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133,

Sources: Jay Gore, (765) 494-2122,

Michael Ladisch, (765) 494-7022,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

Note to Journalists: Interviews with speakers and panelists can be arranged by contacting Phillip Fiorini at (765) 496-3133, For a full schedule of the 2007 Bioenergy Symposium, go to:

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