The Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) is hosting its sixth annual conference this summer. Biomass 2013: How the Advanced Bioindustry is Reshaping American Energy is the culmination of what BETO does best—bringing together a variety of partners and stakeholders to talk about and take action toward achieving a commercially viable, high-performance bioindustry. Though we’re already on our sixth conference, we’re only getting started; you can expect plenty of new and exciting topics coming your way July 31–August 1, 2013.

A new topic on this year’s agenda will look at the potential of developing natural gas as a viable feedstock for liquid hydrocarbon fuel. Some conversion processes utilized by the industry have started relying on natural gas as a method of heating, hydrotreating, and hydrocracking. Natural gas is already utilized around the world and holds potential for working in harmony with existing biomass-to-fuel technologies. A session on this topic will include a discussion of technical barriers, impacts on biomass research, a techno-economic analysis, and more.

Steven Chu on stage

At last year’s conference, former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu discussed biofuels and his background in “A Conversation with Secretary Chu,” moderated by John Kneiss, Director of Hart Energy Consulting. This year’s conference will also feature incredible and exciting keynotes. (Photo courtesy of BCS, Incorporated)

Another cutting-edge topic at this year’s conference focuses on synthetic biology. Synthetic biology is the combination of engineering and traditional biology to design artificial systems from natural organisms for useful purposes. A significant amount of research is now targeted toward breeding the most successful feedstocks and modifying enzymes and microbes for more efficient conversion processes. Examples include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s efforts in developing a new strain of blue-green algae and the Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations’ work on adding a protective coating to catalysts to create valuable bioproducts. Synthetic biology could have a significant impact on fully commercializing the bioindustry.

BETO will also highlight the development of alternative fuels for the military and aviation sector. Government and industry leaders will discuss current efforts and successes under the Defense Production Act, future challenges for creating aviation- and jet-grade biofuels, and the overall alternative fuel needs of the military.

Heather Zichal presenting at Biomass 2012

Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal spoke at Biomass 2012. To see this year’s high-profile speakers, register now. (Photo courtesy of BCS, Incorporated)

Many sessions at Biomass 2013 will place emphasis on sustainability, reflecting BETO’s commitment to environmental, social, and economic sustainability—maximizing the benefits of bioenergy while reducing potential negative impacts. In line with this year’s theme, we will also discuss some of the industry’s major successes and the road ahead.

With all of the invaluable, thought-provoking sessions and discussions scheduled, it’s no surprise that Biomass 2013 is drawing some of the industry’s biggest leaders, our exceptional project partners, top Department of Energy officials, and other government officials. Our conference is a ‘can’t miss’ event, so we have one big question for you—have you registered yet?

For more information about Biomass 2013—including a draft agenda and logistical information—check out the Biomass 2013 Web page.