Friday, April 8, 2011

Extension Section/WFMEC Webinar on Farmers Dealing with the Commercialization of Cellulosic Biofuels

Given the rising price of oil and the mandates in the EISA, the pressure for cellulosic biofuels has never been greater. However, the production of these biofuels has lagged, not meeting the mandated levels, even after they've been reduced. The AAEA Extension Section and the Western Farm Management Extension Committee have organized a webinar evaluating commercialization of cellulosic biofuels and discussing farmers' abilities to overcome production, logistical, and environmental constraints to delivering switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover/cobs feedstocks in the Great Plains. This webinar will take place on April 20 at 12:00 pm EDT.

You can find more information in the official release below. There is no need to pre-register for the webinar.

UPDATE: This webinar has already taken place, but you can watch the archived version on the Extension Section website.

Inflated Expectations, Unfulfilled Mandates, and Cost-Efficient Feedstock Systems for Cellulosic Biofuels—What’s a Farmer to do?
April 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm EST

Brought to you as a partnership effort between the AAEA Extension Section, and the Western Farm Management Extension Committee.

With oil prices rising over $100 barrel, interest in cellulosic biofuel intensifies. The U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 calls for 16 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel production for 2022. Original mandated EISA targets for cellulosic ethanol were 100 million gallons in 2010 and 250 million gallons in 2011. The 2010 mandate was reduced from 100 to 6.5 million gallons and the 2011 mandate has been reduced from 250 to 6.6 million gallons. Even though the market for cellulosic ethanol was mandated, it has not been produced at the mandated levels, suggesting a problem with the economics. Professor Wally Tyner (Purdue University) argued prior to the EPA rulings permitting E15, that “…Second generation (cellulosic) ethanol … is dead on arrival.” Even with a number of policy incentives (subsidies, mandates) it has been extremely difficult for cellulosic biofuels to compete with fossil fuels on cost. However, in anticipation of an economically viable conversion system, the agricultural research community has been busy designing cost efficient feedstock production and delivery systems for corn cobs, corn stover, and dedicated energy crops such as switchgrass. When is cellulosic biofuel technology ready to go commercial? More importantly, under what terms are farmers ready to start providing the large quantities of biomass feedstock needed?

Drs. Francis Epplin (Oklahoma State University) and Cole Gustafson (North Dakota State University) will evaluate commercialization of cellulosic biofuels and discuss farmer’s abilities to overcome production, logistical, and environmental constraints to delivering switchgrass, wheat straw, and corn stover/cobs feedstocks in the Great Plains.

To Participate: No pre-registration is required, however the seminar is limited to 500 users. Sign-on is first come, first served.

Equipment needed: A computer with speakers/headphones and a high-speed Internet connection (LAN, DSL/cable modem, high-speed wireless).

To join the seminar: Visit
  • This web link opens a screen that has the Enter as a Guest option selected. Use this option and enter your name and then click on the Enter Room button.
  • The start time is 11:00 am Central. Please log on a few minutes early to view information about how to ask presenters questions and to make sure your audio is working.
  • Prior to the meeting date and time, test your computer’s ability to communicate with the system. Visit Follow the instructions provided. 
This webinar is a pilot project effort by the AAEA Extension Section. Similar current issue seminars may be provided in the future.

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