2008 Keynote Speakers


Point / Counterpoint

Plenary Session Moderator:

Robert C. Brown, Farm Bureau Director of the Bioeconomy Institute, Iowa State University

Biological Conversion of Biomass   Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass
Wyman Charles Wyman

Wyman will discuss the advantages and promise of biological conversion of biomass. He is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering at the University of California at Riverside. His career has been devoted to the advancement of technology for biological conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol and other products that will reduce our excessive dependence on petroleum.

  John R. Regalbuto

Regalbuto will discuss the merits of thermochemical conversion of biomass to biofuels and bioproducts. As a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, his research includes fundamental studies of catalyst preparation, absorption theory, catalyst characterization, and engineering ethics and education.

Why Corn Will Remain The Primary Ethanol Feedstock For The Next 10 Years In The United States   Why the United States Biofuels Industry Will Transition to Polycultures and Perennials
Theodore M. Crosbie

Crosbie will discuss technical and political reasons corn will remain the primary feedstock for biofuels for the foreseeable future. He is Vice President of Global Plant Breeding of the Monsanto Agriculture Sector. He is responsible for seven crops worldwide and is a member of the Monsanto Advisory Committee and the Technology Leadership Team. He has provided broad strategic impact in Monsanto through scientific leadership.

  G. David Tilman

Tilman will discuss the benefits of transitioning to a biologically diverse system of biomass feedstocks to supply the bioeconomy and to provide other ecosystem services for society. He is Regents Professor of Ecology and holds the McKnight University Presidential Chair in Ecology at the University of Minnesota. He is an experimental mathematical ecologist studying the impacts of the loss of biological diversity and of other types of human-driven global change.

Biofuels: Helping Mitigate Global Climate Change   Biofuels Increase Greenhouse Gases through Emissions from Land Use Change 
Stephen P. Long

Long will defend the merits of biofuels for CO reduction. He is the University of Illinois Robert Emerson Professor and Chief and Founding Editor of Global Change Biology. His research focuses on mechanisms of crop responses to global atmospheric change. He has also worked with low-input perennial bioenergy feedstocks for over 20 years in the EU and US. He is Deputy Director of the new Energy Biosciences Institute focused on improved sustainability of cellulosic biofuels.

  Timothy D. Searchinger

Searchinger recently published a thought provoking piece in Science Express challenging the purported benefits of biofuels for CO mitigation. He is a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. Though he was trained as a lawyer, he now works primarily on interdisciplinary environmental issues related to agriculture. Searchinger is also writing a book about the interaction of agriculture and the environment.


Point / Counterpoint: Summary and Wrap-Up

Stan Johnson is currently Board Chair and CEO of the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, a Washington based not-for-profit organization.  He is as well Assistant to the Dean for Special Projects at the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada, Reno; Senior consultant to the Under Secretary for REEE/USDA responsible for developing an agency Strategic Energy Plan; consultant to the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO); and other national and international organizations.  Johnson retired from Iowa State University in 2006 as Vice Provost for Extension and continues to hold the title of Distinguished Professor.  Prior to being Vice Provost for Extension he was the director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.


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