Biomass to Chemicals and Fuels: Science, Technology and Public Policy

The conference investigated the potential for biofuels to contribute to U.S. energy security and highlighted the research and development of new technologies and scientific breakthroughs needed to make biofuels a viable alternative to oil based fuels. This conference also served as part of a broader campaign to reinvigorate public interest in the physical sciences.

IMAGE BiofuelsA bipartisan effort to address our energy security dilemma through revolutionary technologies could generate an excitement and idealism similar to the one that swept the nation -- and particularly our young people -- during the height of the space program in the 1960s and 1970s.


The conference, organized by the Baker Institute and Rice University"s Departments of Chemical and Molecular Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Energy and Environmental Systems Institute, brought together policy-makers, scientists, opinion-shapers, and business leaders to showcase potentially revolutionary breakthroughs in the biomass area.


Click here to see Bio-Based Chemicals & Fuels Research Information


Agenda and Event Presentations

Monday, September 25, 2006

8:30 am Welcome

PDF icon Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Edward Djerejian, Director, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University

Keynote Address: "The Energy Potential of Biomass in the U.S."
Alexander Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

9:30 am Main Plenary Session: Biomass, Energy Policy, and Societal Impact

PDF icon "The Potential Importance of Biomass to the Energy Problem: Bio Sources, Volumes and Environmental Advantages and Impacts"
Kyriacos Zygourakis, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University

10:00 am Opening Session: Outlining the Possibilities - A Commericial Perspective

Susan M. Cischke, Vice President, Environmental and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company

PDF icon "World Energy Consumption by Source"
Paul D. Addis, CEO, Louis Dreyfus Energy

PDF icon "A Commercial Perspective"
William Spence, CEO, Galveston Bay Board

11:00 am Break

11:15 am National Initiatives and Energy Security

PDF icon "Biofuels: The Mindset Shift - Thinking and Acting Outside the Energy Box"
Sergio Trindade, Director, Science and Technology, International Fuel Technology, Inc.

PDF icon "European Union and Bioenergy - Biofuel"
Melvyn Askew, Head of Agriculture and Rural Strategy, Central Science Laboratory, United Kingdom

PDF icon "Rice Biodiesel Program"
Guyton Durnin, Environmental Engineering, Rice University

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Afternoon Session: Scientific Issues

PDF icon "Getting Serious about Biofuels: Technology Potentials"
Adam Schubert, U.S. Product Strategy Manager, BP Fuels Management Group

PDF icon "Ethanol in Fuel: Microscopic and Macroscopic Implication for Groundwater Pollution"
Pedro Alvarez, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University

PDF icon "Life Cycle Analysis and Environmental Assessments"
Susan E. Powers, Coulter School of Engineering, Clarkson University

3:30 pm Break

3:45 pm Afternoon Session: The Politics of Biofuels in the United States

Margie Kriz, Correspondent, National Journal

PDF icon "Biofuels: Crude Realities"
Gal Luft, Executive Director, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security

5:30 pm Reception


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

8:30 am Scientific Session: Emerging Science: Challenges and Enabling Breakthroughs

PDF icon "Plant Biotechnology and Feedstock Engineering"
Bill McCutchen, Deputy Associate Director, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station

PDF icon "Biomass Pretreatment: A Vital Interface Between Plant and Conversion Systems"
Charles Wyman, University of California at Riverside

PDF icon "Thermochemical Conversion Technolgies"
Richard Bain, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

PDF icon "Potential of Designer Cellulosomes for Biomass Conversion: Out of the Box!"
Edward Bayer
, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

PDF icon "Biochemical Converstion of Cellulosic Feedstocks"
James McMillan, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

PDF icon "Emerging Platforms for Biofuels and Biochemicals: The Role of Metabolic Engineering and Systems Biology"
Ramon Gonzalez, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University

"Butanol Production by Microbial Fermentation"
George Bennett, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University 

12:30 pm Lunch

2:00 pm General Discussion: Scientific Issues

3:00 pm Panel Discussion: Economic and Policy Issues: Comparative Values

PDF icon "Economics and Policy Issues: Comparative Value"
Kenneth Medlock, Baker Institute, Rice University

PDF icon "Possible Impacts of Industrial Biofuels in the US and the World"
Tad Patzek, University of California-Berkeley

PDF icon "Ethanol Fuel"
Marcelo Dias de Oliveira, Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida

PDF icon "Federal Energy Tax Incentives and the Current State of Biomass Fuels: A View from Congressional Oversight"
Godwin M. Agbara, Assistant Director, Energy Issues United States Government Accountability Office Natural Resources and Environment

4:15 PM Closing Summary
Amy Myers Jaffe, Baker Institute, Rice University

To view the entire conference, please click below:

Day 1:

Day 2


Speaker Edward Djerejian

View all speakers


Mon, Sep. 25 - Tue, Sep. 26, 2006
7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
(GMT-0500) America/Chicago


The Baker Institute at Rice University