LSU AgCenter announces bioenergy conference

Richard Vlosky, Attaway, Denise  |  9/16/2015 6:12:44 PM

To help Louisiana producers and residents become more acquainted with the bioenergy industry, the LSU AgCenter is holding a conference, titled “Bioenergy: A Focus on Louisiana” on Oct. 21.

The conference is being held in conjunction with National Bioenergy Day. According to Dr. Richard Vlosky, director, and Crosby Land and Resources professor of Forest Sector Business Development in the AgCenter’s Louisiana Forest Products Development Center, the bioenergy industry is gaining a lot of attention.

“There is a lot of focus right now on bioenergy globally, particularly in the wood sector,” Vlosky said. “We want to show what is taking place globally in the bioenergy sector with a focus on Louisiana.”

The conference will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Efferson Hall Room 214 on the LSU campus. Information will be provided for those who want to learn about bioenergy and biofuels, as well as highlight state programs and industry involvement related to bioenergy and bioproducts. This program has been reviewed and is approved by the Society of American Foresters for 6.5 professional contact hours, Category 1-C.

Cost is $25 per person and includes lunch. There is no charge for students. Registration is limited. The deadline to register is Oct. 10. To register online or for information on how to mail in a registration form with payment, go to

The conference agenda includes experts in the bioenergy field, including keynote speaker Dr. Charles Reith from the American University of Nigeria. Reith will give an overview of the global landscape for biomass energy. Dr. Dan Len, regional biomass coordinator for the U.S. Forestry Service southern region, will give a second keynote address on Woody Biomass Supply and Demand for Bioenergy in the U.S. South.

Other topics covered during the morning session include Woody Biomass Feedstock Characterization for Energy Conversion by Dr. Les Groom of the USDA Forest Service, the Supply Chain for Drax Biomass International by Richard Peberdy, vice president for sustainability at Drax Biomss; Changing the Forest Sector in Louisiana by Mike Kile, procurement manager of German Pellets; and the Forest Landowner Perspective on Supplying Biomass for Bioenergy by Mike Jostrom, director of renewable resources at PlumCreek.

The afternoon session is titled, “Other Louisiana Bio-Actions and Initiatives.” Presentations during the afternoon session include: How does Louisiana Attract (and Retain) Bio-based Companies?, by Russell Richardson, director of business development for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce; LPSC Renewable Energy Pilot Program by Melanie Verzwyvelt, staff attorney for the Louisiana Public Service Commission; Lessons Learned from Co-firing Woody Biomass with Coal by Richard Sharp, manager of resource planning for the Central Louisiana Electric Co-Op (CLECO); Wood Isn’t the Only Game in Town for Pellets by Rick Buhr, executive director for NFR BioEnergy LLC; What’s so Cool about Cool Planet?, by Mike Bukowski, vice president for operations at Cool Planet; and The Myriant Experience in Becoming a Successful Bio-based Chemical Company by Dr. Mark Shmorhun, vice president for engineering and general manager for the Myriant Corporation.

Based on the current status of the bioenergy industry in Louisiana, Dr. John Russin, vice chancellor for the LSU AgCenter and principal investigator for the Sustainable Bioproducts Initiative (SUBI), said it is possible the state's agricultural producers could benefit by becoming a part of this growing trend.

“In the future, the bioenergy industry may give producers another outlet from which to make money in addition to selling their crops for food,” Russin said. “We encourage everyone who is interested in learning more about the bioenergy industry to join us on Oct. 21.”

This year is the third year National Bioenergy Day has been recognized. The Louisiana event is just one of many slated for Oct. 21 in the United States and Canada. For a full list of national events, go to.

The LSU Center for Energy Studies is also having a conference on Oct. 21. Click for information about the Energy Summit™ 2015 Disruptive and Game-Changing Energy Trends: Implications for Louisiana.

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