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Speaker Abstract

Industrial Ecology of the Modern Biorefinery

Robert Anex
Associate Director, Office of Biorenewables Programs
Associate Professor, Departments of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering
Iowa State University

Emerging markets for fuels and energy from crop biomass are creating new opportunities for redesigning agricultural systems for improved ecological function and energy-use efficiency. Innovative bioconversion processes configured for increased energy and material integration provide opportunities for “ecological intensification” of the coupled agricultural-industrial systems. For example, conversion processes configured to recover key plant nutrients from biomass will allow recycling nutrients to crop fields, thereby closing nutrient cycles and reducing the energetic and economic costs of fertilization. Such advanced bioconversion matched with complementary biomass production may promote the development of highly productive agricultural-industrial systems that protect environmental quality.