Biotechnology for Biofuels Blog - Fruit and Nuts for both Food and Fuel

Dr. Morton attended the ACS meeting in Denver, Colorado from August 28-September 1st (2011). At the ACS meeting he presented a poster, "Dissolution and Analysis of Lignin Rich Biomass Feedstocks" co-authored by Andrew Placido. The poster focused on the production of hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals from Lignocellulosic biomass. The inefficient use of the lignin portion of the biomass was of particular interest due to its possible conversion to many different and valuable chemical feedstocks. The poster mainly consisted of our work so far on delignifcation using ionic liquids.


A workshop titled, "Integrated Research, Education and Extension to Enable Sustainable Biofuel Production", attempted to organize research efforts in the Southeast U.S. (Bertsch P, DeBolt S, McNear D 2010). From this workshop three white papers on Bioenergy Agriculture were developed by April 2011.


From March 23-25th Dr. Morton and Andrew Placido attended the 2011 NSF EFRI Grantees conference. At this conference we were able to learn about the new projects that had just recently been funded and continue to develop relationships with those researchers funded in previous years. An update on our work so far was presented and also a youtube video (mov) was produced for the conference.


From March 13-15th (2011) the Conn Center for Renewable energy Research at the University of Louisville sponsored a statewide workshop at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville. The event provided an opportunity for researchers from Kentucky Universities and industries to network and discuss the latest developments and challenges in renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Major themes at the workshop included, energy storage, biomass/biofuels, advanced energy materials and solar. The event was attended by Dr. Morton and graduate student Justin Mobley who presented a poster titled Dissolution and Analysis of Lignin-Rich Biomass Feedstocks. The poster included the following authors: Justin Mobley, Liz Ware, Eduardo Santillian-Jiminez, Andrew Placido, Rodney Andrews, Mark Crocker, Seth DeBolt, Mark Meier and Samuel A Morton III.


During the 2010 NSF-EFRI Grantees Meeting in Arilington, VA in March, a desire was expressed among the Hydrocarbons from Biomass (HyBi) awardees to have a longer opportunity to openly present a more detailed discussion of the individual research projects. It was hoped such an organized symposium would allow the various groups to discuss common challenges, explore collaborative opportunities, and foster synergistic activities in support of the goals of the EFRI-HyBi program. To this end a full day symposium at the American Chemical Society's 240th National Meeting in Boston, MA was organized by Dr. Samuel Morton III. The session is scheduled for August 23rd, 2010. In addition to the eight HyBi awardees, several additional (yet related) presentations were included in the overall symposium agenda. Further information relating to this symposium (abstracts, speakers, times, etc.) can be found on the website of the American Chemical Society.


Dr. Morton, along with junior staff researcher Andrew Placido attended a biomass field day hosted by UK extension Service at Kentucky State University in the Summer of 2010 to learn about biofuels production from biomass and also to share our work at the CAER with others.


On April 14th, 2010 Dr.'s Andrews, Crocker, Montross and Morton were instructors at a short course titled "Biomass to Energy: An Overview Short Course." This course was organized by the Center for Applied Energy Research and was hosted at its West Liberty Campus. The course aimed to provide a broad introduction to the area of biomass utilization for energy. Both current and emerging technologies were considered, including bioethanol production from cellulosic biomass, production of biodiesel and renewable diesel. Other topics covered in the short course included the development of new feedstocks and the economics of biomass utilization. There were over 60 attendees, including those from the government, industry and the general public.