CABER Media/Press Releases

Biomass Conversion to Heat & Electricity Workshop Announced

Natalie Bosecker
1/14/2010  8:00 am

The evidence is in the news: bio-based replacements for petroleum are coming on line soon. Liquid fuels and other valuable products from biomass—crop residues, wood waste, and other lignocellulosic materials—are being successfully produced today in several pilot plants across the U.S. As companies scale up these biorefineries, they will need millions of tons of biomass to feed those processes. The biomass supply chain needs to be developed at the same time as the biorefinery, without assuming supplies will just appear, paid for, at the refiner’s gate. One challenge is in the “chain” of densification, transportation, storage, bulk handling and marketing of the plant material.


Apart from the hype of the biorefinery, big markets for biomass exist today, for direct conversion to heat and electricity via more conventional means. Applying what is known about feeding biomass to these markets will help build the supply chain needed for future diversified needs.


The Biomass Conversion to Heat & Electricity Workshop: Molding Today’s Technology for Tomorrow’s Bioenergy Feedstock Supply Chain will benchmark the existing solid biomass for fuel (heat and electricity) technologies and supply chain components. Participants will also identify the bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for research and systems commercialization.


The workshop will be held March 11-12, 2010, at Heartland Community College, in Normal, Illinois.


Featured speakers include: Colleen Callahan, Illinois State Director for USDA, Rural Development;

Bill Johnson, Biofuel Development Manager, Alliant Energy; and John Regalbuto, Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois-Chicago and National Science Foundation


Four panel discussions will provide additional insight:

-Biomass End Users: energy conversion technologies, biomass feedstock specifications, challenges ahead

-Biomass Densification: technologies and equipment for transforming raw material into a commodity

-Systems and Marketing: creating a new bioeconomy

-Policy and Environmental Regulations: current and future issues affecting Midwestern biomass energy opportunities


Seating is limited, so early registration is encouraged. The Early Bird Registration is $80 and includes lunches and materials. The registration fee is $120 after February 19. Register via the website: or phone: (309) 268-8160.


For more information and an updated agenda, visit: or contact Natalie Bosecker, CABER,, 217-244-9273.


Sponsors for the event include: University of Illinois—Center for Advanced Bioenergy Research (CABER), Western Illinois University—Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, Illinois State University—Center for Renewable Energy, University of Illinois Extension, Heartland Community College, Chip Energy and Agricultural Watershed Institute.





Editor’s Note: Photos of biomass are available upon request.