hands holding wood byproducts1 (1)SEATTLE – The second Northwest Wood-Based Biofuels + Co-Products Conference will be May 3-4 at the Seattle Airport Marriott.

It will highlight research findings to promote collaboration among attendees to convert wood to biofuels. A unique track for K-12 educators will provide lesson plans to connect bioenergy to STEM education. Although the focus will be on regional efforts, a national and global perspective will be included.

Early registration (http://nararenewables.org/conference/?page_id=184) through April 3 costs $250; a subsidized rate is available for K-12 educators. High school and university students who present a poster at the conference receive complimentary registration. View the conference website at http://nararenewables.org/conference/.

Research-based commercialization

In the past decade, funding agencies (USDA-NIFA and DOE), stakeholder coalitions (SAFN), state agencies and industry have invested millions of dollars and substantial time to envision a Pacific Northwest industry that uses wood-based biomass to produce liquid biofuels and co-products.

USDA-NIFA funded programs like the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) and Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest (AHB) will end in 2016. These programs, in collaboration with stakeholders, produced tools and information that will assist in developing a sustainable wood-to-biofuels industry in the Northwest.

The goal of the conference is to communicate research findings and promote collaboration so attendees can approach commercialization using underutilized wood resources or dedicated wood feedstocks in a strategic and sustainable manner. Specific conference tracks will focus on feedstock logistics, conversion technologies, sustainability, bioenergy literacy and commercialization.

Confirmed speakers include representatives from Red Rock Biofuels, Alaska Airlines, Boeing, the Port of Seattle, Anellotech, Oakridge National Laboratory, FPInnovations, Cool Planet and Cosmo Specialty Fibers.

K-12 education track

The conference offers a unique track designed to help formal and informal K-12 educators learn about bioenergy, wood-based biofuels and lesson plans and strategies developed to connect bioenergy to STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.

The intent is to increase bioenergy awareness in the classroom so students become citizens who are better informed and can contribute to a bioenergy workforce. Western Washington University (contact Danica.Hendrickson@wwu.edu) and the University of Idaho (contact jschon@uidaho.edu) will offer professional development credits for participating educators.

The first conference was held in 2014 and drew over 200 participants.

The USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Washington State University Extension are conference sponsors. NARA, which is led by WSU, is conference host.


Vikram Yadama , NARA (https://nararenewables.org/) at WSU, 509-335-6261, vyadama@wsu.edu