June 20, 2008

A biofuels short course will provide a broad introduction to the area of biomass-derived fuels, emphasizing technological aspects of their production, as well as new feedstock opportunities for farmers. Organized by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, with sessions taught by lecturers from CAER and the UK College of Agriculture, the course will be held Aug. 14-15 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington.

The development of low-cost, high-capacity processes for the conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals is essential for expanding the use of carbon neutral processes, reducing dependency on fossil fuel resources and increasing rural income. According to Rodney Andrews, CAER director, there is a general consensus that biofuels production will continue to expand, increasingly based on dedicated energy crops and forestry products.

During the two-day workshop, participants will consider both current and emerging technologies, including bioethanol production from corn starch and cellulosic biomass, and the production of biodiesel and so-called "green" or "renewable" diesel. Other topics include the development of new feed stocks such as algae and sweet sorghum, and the economics of biomass utilization.

Alison Davis, assistant extension professor in the UK Department of Agricultural Economics, will conduct a session on the economics of biomass utilization, covering such topics as production, harvest, storage and transportation costs, tax credits and incentives for solar, photovoltaics, ethanol and biodiesel.

Mike Montross, associate professor in UK Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and Samuel Morton of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. will discuss new feedstock opportunities, including starch, cellulosic and oil sources. Montross and Czarena Crofcheck, UK associate professor in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, will co-teach an introductory session on bioethanol basics, and Crofcheck will also co-teach a session with CAER's Andrews and Jim Neathery on biofuels from lignocellulosic biomass.

Other sessions include the biorefinery concept and pyrolysis oil utilization and upgrading.

The course will benefit educators, students, researchers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, government regulators, federal and state legislative staffers, agricultural producers, bio-energy association affiliates and biofuel marketers, producers, and sales representatives. Cost of the course is $250. Nine engineering professional development hours are offered.

Deadline for registration is Aug. 1. For more information and registration visit http://www.caer.uky.edu/biofuels/shortcourse/2008biofuels.shtml or contact Teresa Epperson, 859-257-0200 or register@caer.uky.edu.

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