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MSU researchers to lead August biofuels conference
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The interdisciplinary faculty at Mississippi State University’s Sustainable Energy Research Center, who are exploring how to convert plant biomass into renewable energy, will present their findings at the fourth annual MSU Biofuels Conference Aug. 6-7 in Jackson.
Researchers from the energy industry, other universities, laboratories, foundations and government agencies will join them at the conference to share information about sustainable, environmentally sound energy alternatives.
“This year we have invited international experts in the areas of biofuels, plant economics, sustainability and renewable energy applications,” said conference director Rafael Hernandez.
He said the conference strives to link industrial challenges for biofuel manufacturing and application with academic research to give participants a comprehensive understanding of renewable energy.
The two-day event is open to the public. Educators, investors, energy company representatives and farmers may find the information particularly helpful, Hernandez said.
Participants may register online at http://www.biofuelsconference.msstate.edu or download a form to mail. Registration is $150 through July 24 and $175 after that date. The conference offers students a special registration rate of $50.
MSU units sponsoring the conference include the Sustainable Energy Research Center, the Bagley College of Engineering, the Industrial Outreach Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
The high cost of petroleum-based energy has created a movement in the United States to find alternatives. Ethanol from corn is used by many industries, although some scientists and agricultural representatives worry that diversion of corn from the food supply may lead to shortages. Biomass from trees and waste plant material have potential if lignin, the substance that makes up plant cell walls, can be broken down to release cellulose and other usable materials.
“Mississippi has a large quantity of biomass that could make it a leading state in the production of renewable energy,” said MSU Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department head Bill Batchelor, who is also director of the Sustainable Energy Research Center. “The knowledge and technologies we develop will enable our state to use this resource and create a catalyst for the emergence of a biorenewable energy industry in Mississippi.”
Visit http://www.biofuelsconference.msstate.edu for more information.
Writer: Patti Drapala