Sustainable Production and the Impact of Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts

Seth Snyder from Argonne National Laboratory Discusses New Developments in Biofuel Production

Advanced biofuels and bioproducts provide the opportunity to provide liquid fuels and materials while reducing the environmental impact of fossil energy sources.  It is essential for chemical engineers to develop technologies to produce biofuels and bioproducts that achieve these goals while avoiding competition with food and feed demands. In comparison to fossil feedstocks, biobased feedstocks present distinct challenges, most notably low energy density, water and oxygen content, and composition variability. Production of fuels and chemicals requires novel bioprocessing, catalysis, and separations technologies.

Argonne National Laboratory is a core laboratory in the US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office.  Argonne conducts research in catalysis – focused on deoxygenation of biomass intermediates and catalyst stabilization, fermentation to produce long-chain reduced molecules directly from cellulosic feedstocks, and continuous separations to recover either charged or hydrophobic molecules from reactions.  In addition, Argonne evaluates the sustainability of growing biomass feedstocks and is the leading laboratory in the US for conducting Life Cycle Analysis of biofuels.

In this talk, Dr. Snyder identifies the critical needs to sustainable production of advanced biofuels and bioproducts.

Seth-snyderSeth W. Snyder received a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania in Chemistry and Environmental Studies  and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Virginia. He currently serves as the President of the Council for Chemical Research and as Argonne’s Laboratory Relationship Manager for the DOE Bioenergy Technologies Office.  He has an adjunct faculty position in engineering at Northwestern University, where he teaches a graduate level course in energy. He has a senior fellow appointment at the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute at Chicago (EPIC).  He served on the advisory council for the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Biofuels Initiative (MASBI).  He serves on the advisory board for several academic centers including: the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s “Center for Advanced Bioenergy Research”, South Dakota’s “Center for Bioprocessing Research”, the NSF “Center for Bioenergy R&D”, and Iowa State University’s “Initiative for a Carbon Negative Economy”.  He has affiliate appointments at the University of Chicago’s “Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology”, the U of C – Booth School of Business’s “Energy Initiative”, and the UIUC “Institute for Genomics Biology”.

He has published over fifty papers in over forty different journals, has sixteen patents (issued and pending), has had his research presented at over ninety conferences over the past decade.  He received the 2012 FLC Award for excellence in technology transfer, three R&D 100 awards and an Outstanding Mentor Award from the DOE FAST Program.  He served as a Commissioner of Economic Development for the Village of Lincolnwood, as an early morning jazz DJ at Northwestern University’s WNUR, and has hosted dozens of students for the Niles Township High School District’s Job Shadowing program.

This event was presented by the Center for International Studies, the Program on the Global Environment, and the Environment, Agriculture and Food Working Group as part of “Global Energies: A Public Inquiry into the Ecology, Science and Politics of Energy in the 21st Century.”

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