Growing the bioeconomy in uncertain times

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the bioeconomy is facing challenges.

On Friday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, CFAES’ Advanced BioSystems Workshop will look at those challenges and will brainstorm ways for technology, research, and the government to address them.

Good for business, climate, security

Plant-based products and fuels “have the potential to decrease U.S. dependence on petroleum feedstocks, improving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new industries,” said Ajay Shah, the workshop organizer and an agricultural engineer with CFAES.

But he said the COVID-19 pandemic and other uncertainties have significantly affected the biobased industries—from the availability of funding to simply the ability of businesses to survive.

Following a keynote address, three breakout sessions, and a panel discussion and Q-and-A, the workshop participants will produce a report “that will help entrepreneurs, policy makers, and regulators develop strategies for moving forward,” Shah said.

Doris de Guzman of Tecnon OrbiChem and the Green Chemicals Blog will give the keynote address, “Developments in Bio-based Materials Markets.”

Shah will present “Targeting Solutions for Components of the Bioeconomy” as a lead-in to the breakout sessions.

The breakout sessions—participants can attend only one of them—will feature:

  • “Biobased Products and Fuel,” facilitated by Ohio State’s Denny Hall;
  • “BioSystems Logistics from Crops to Market,” facilitated by Jill Adelsberger of Cargill; and
  • “Policy and Governance,” facilitated by Alexa Combelic of the American Soybean Association.

How to register

The event will take place virtually. Registration is $25. The workshop flyer, which includes descriptions of the breakout sessions, is here. Online registration is here, or you can fill out and mail the registration form included in the flyer.

Instructions for connecting online or by phone will be sent about a week before the workshop.

When registering, participants should indicate the breakout session they want, because each session will have separate log-in details.

For more information, contact Mary Wicks of CFAES’ Program for Bioproducts and the Environment at or 330-202-3533.

CFAES is organizing the event with support from the Ohio Soybean Council.

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