Wallace's Farmer, IA 10-26-07 ISU to Present National Conference on Bioeconomy Compiled By Staff Iowa State University will host a national conference on growing the bioeconomy next month in Ames. The two-day conference includes sessions on plant sciences, feedstock production, conversion of biomass into fuels and products, bioproducts use and energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability, and economics and policy. Bioeconomy advances will be in the spotlight as researchers and renewable energy experts from around the globe convene at Iowa State University's 2007 Biobased Industry Outlook Conference, "Growing the Bioeconomy," Nov. 5-6. The two-day conference includes sessions on plant sciences, feedstock production, conversion of biomass into fuels and products, bioproducts use and energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability, and economics and policy. It is attracting industry and community leaders, academicians and government leaders from around the nation. More states developing energy sources Martin Keller, director of the recently established U.S. Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, will speak about plants and microbes of bioenergy. This session is part of the Plant Sciences track sponsored by the Plant Sciences Institute of ISU. "More states such as Iowa and Tennessee are pursuing the possibility of energy sources in their own backyards," says Keller. "At our center we are exploring nature's potential to deliver sustainable, renewable transportation fuels." Keller is leading the Center's efforts to improve dedicated biomass crops and create new methods of processing plants into biofuel. Primary research goals include modifying plant cell walls to reduce their resistance to breakdown, with a focus on the poplar tree and switchgrass, a native grass easily grown in much of the United States. ISU's annual Biobased Industry Outlook Conference has established a reputation for being one of the nation's leading events for the sharing of information about manufacturing, distributing and marketing biobased products. The conference is sponsored by ISU Extension, ISU Office of Biorenewables Programs and the ISU Plant Sciences Institute and many affiliated businesses and organizations. Information about the conference agenda, speakers and registration is available at www.bioeconomyconference.org.