Media Advisory

May 5 forum on biofuels to address food vs fuel, algae and more

Contact: Robert Sanders, Media Relations
(510) 915-3097

04 May 2009

ATTENTION: Science, energy, environment, biotechnology and business writers


A media forum on biofuels and the biofuel industry, with expert panels on commercialization of biofuels, sustainability and land use issues, emerging technologies and turning algae into fuel.

Eight panelists, among them academic and industry leaders, will address some of the misconceptions about biofuels, including the alleged trade-off between food and fuel and the indirect effects of feedstock production on developing countries. The speakers also will highlight the most newsworthy topics of the meeting.

The forum is organized around the world's most prestigious and established biofuels meeting, the 31st Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, which runs from May 3 through May 6 in San Francisco. More than 800 scientists are attending the scientific and technical sessions.


Tuesday, May 5, 2-5 p.m.


Grand Ballroom C, 3rd floor, InterContinental San Francisco Hotel, 888 Howard Street.


Forum speakers will include:

  • Introduction
    • Jim McMillan, conference chair and manager, biochemical process research and development, National BioEnergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Panel 1 - Sustainability of a large-scale biofuels industry
    • Lee Lynd, professor, environmental engineering design, Dartmouth College
    • Bruce Dale, University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University; associate director, Office of Biobased Technologies
  • Panel 2 - Commercialization, deployment and development
    • Doug Cameron, Piper Jaffray Companies
    • Michael Ladisch, chief technology officer, Mascoma Corporation; professor of agricultural and biological engineering, Purdue University
  • Panel 3 - Potential and challenges of algae as a fuel source
    • Al Darzins, manager of applied science, National BioEnergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
    • Bertrand Vick, chief scientific officer and co-founder, Aurora Biofuels
  • Panel 4 - Emerging technologies
    • Chris Somerville, director, Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI); UC Berkeley professor of plant and microbial biology
    • Brian Davison, chief scientist for systems biology and biotechnology, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); coordinator of biomass characterization and modeling, DOE BioEnergy Science Center, ORNL


The meeting is organized by the Society for Industrial Microbiology, hosted by NREL and ORNL, and sponsored by the Department of Energy's Biomass Program. This year's co-sponsors include EBI, the Department of Energy's Joint BioEnergy Institute and other national laboratories and private companies.