Extension News

Conference Will Focus on Agriculture-based Bioeconomy Solutions

Bioeconomy e-conference

Note to media editors: Watch a video interview with James E. Lovelock.


AMES, Iowa--- Biochar, perennial species, alternative biomass energy crops and advances in biofuels are some of the solutions to bioeconomy sustainability issues that will be discussed at the 2009 Bioeconomy eConference: Growing the Bioeconomy. The Dec. 1 conference is organized by Iowa State University and other land grant universities and federally funded laboratories.

James E. Lovelock, renowned biochar and climate change expert, will be the first conference presenter to offer his solution to greenhouse gases. Lovelock will open the conference with a keynote address on the benefits of biochar as one viable solution to global climate change.

According to Lovelock, “If we took some of the plant produce and turned it into carbon, into charcoal, and buried it – that would be massively taking carbon, and carbon dioxide by reference, from the air and really doing something.”  His address will be delivered to all partner universities hosting sites. Iowa participants will gather at the Scheman Conference Center on the ISU campus in Ames, or join the conference from their own computers.

Lovelock, called by some the “paramedic to the planet,” revolutionized environmentalism with the Gaia theory and, at the age of 90, now is tackling global warming. He will discuss the potential of biochar to solve climate change and slow the degradation of the planet, and how geoengineering can take the edge off climate change.

“The life span of charcoal in the soil looks to be almost infinite. This is a massive way of taking carbon out of the air,” said Lovelock. Other morning conference speakers will look at the benefits of biochar for soil sequestration and improved soil fertility; and share research findings on integrating conservation with biofuel feedstock production.

Conference participants will learn about solutions to more specific topics during afternoon concurrent sessions. Participants will select two of the following four tracks: net greenhouse gas emission from biofuel systems; non-traditional feedstocks; advances and breakthroughs in biofuels; and bioenergy economic and policy issues. Each two-hour track will feature three to four presenters.

There are several options for conference participation - attend a state sponsored site or a corporate location, or view the conference from a personal computer any place in the world. Learn more about the participation options available and register online at www.bioeconomyconference.org/registration.  The registration fee to attend in Ames is $95, or $47.50 for Iowa State University students. Registration fee to view the conference from a personal computer is $50; $25 for ISU students. A complete agenda with speaker information is also available at this Web site.


Contacts :

Jill Euken, Bioeconomy Institute Deputy Director, (712) 769-2600, jeuken@iastate.edu

MaryAnn Sherman, Bioeconomy Institute Communications Coordinator, (515) 294-8473, msherman@iastate.edu

Willy Klein, Extension Communications and External Relations,  (515)294-0662, wklein@iastate.edu