Minutes 9-8-09

Sustainable Feedstock Conference Planning Team Minutes
September 8, 2009

Doug Karlen (ARS), Dewayne Johnson (SWCS), Don Wysocki (Oregon State University & SWCS), Neil Conklin (Farm Foundation), John Bonner (CAST), Pradip Das (Monsanto), Nathan Fields (National Corn Growers Assoc.), Susan Jenkins (UC-Berkely), John Miranowski (Iowa State University), Stefanie Aschmann (NRCS), and Richard Hess (INL).

Unable to Join:
Jeff Steiner (ARS), Laura Neal (DOE), Alison Goss Eng (DOE), Mike Jawson (USGS), Carol Kramer-LeBlanc (OCE), Carmella Bailey (CSREES), Alan Hecht (EPA), Jill Euken (BEI), Andy Manale (EPA & SWCS), Roger Wolf (Iowa Soybean Assoc.), Corey Radtke (Shell Oil), William Goldner (CSREES), Jim Doolittle (Sun Grant Assoc.)

1) Update on CAST/SWCS Interaction
2) Discussion of proposed “Topics & Book Chapters” and “Potential Case Studies”
3) Update on commitments for financial resources
4) Next steps
5) Adjourn

(1) The Call began with a brief summary of the meeting that Doug, Dewayne, Oksana Gieseman (SWCS Publications Director), John Bonner and Linda Chimenti had to discuss how CAST and SWCS could most effectively work together on this Workshop. CAST would be interested in having their Fall Board meeting before or after the Workshop and would gain the benefit of SWCS’s ability to organize conferences. CAST has an excellent network in D.C. for dissemination of the Workshop products and information that would be of benefit to all. Both groups have publishing capabilities and exactly how to balance this is being worked out.

(2) The majority of the call was spent discussing the proposed chapters/presentations and case studies that would provide the background for the Workshop and development of the “Regional Roadmaps” for sustainable feedstock production. Having listed three “technologies” (pyrolysis, biochemical, and direct) as three potential chapters resulted in questions regarding the Workshop focus. It was agreed that our focus was to be on “feedstock supply” and NOT on “technologies.” A “chicken and egg” chapter addressing which comes first – technologies or feedstock supplies – was proposed and will be incorporated into the Wiki for further development of the key chapters. There was also discussion clarifying that we would be addressing both “existing potential feedstocks” and “new feedstocks.” The need to clearly address logistics and infrastructure for transportation was pointed out.

John Miranowski stated that currently, pyrolysis is the only technology that can handle any type of feedstock; biochemical is highly specific until the “superbug” is developed, and co-products are the primary technical challenge for direct conversion at this time. The desired chapter should focus on feedstock and platform integration. It should examine constraints feedstocks place on technologies and what different technologies mean for feedstocks. Specific suggestions should be added to the Wiki (http://sustainablefeedstockroadmap.wikidot.com) site.

The “policy” chapter should be something such as “policy implications and program requirements.”

There should be a strong focus on “regional variability” in feedstocks, or more specifically feedstock streams.

There should be a chapter focused on feedstock implications on soil and water resources. This was the intent for the “balancing ecosystem services with increasing feedstock demand.”

The question on if/how algae as a feedstock would/should be addressed in this Workshop was raised. Susan stated that EBI is funding a major study on algae and that the results should be available by about November. Including some reference to this feedstock should be part of the final product even if it’s a very minor role in the workshop.

The selected “case studies” should represent each of the regions for which roadmaps will be developed. This will help reinforce the regional differences and desired outcome of the Workshop. Neil Conklin stated that these chapters should be sure to identify critical regional issues and differences.

After settling on the Chapter titles, team input should be given to the authors reflecting our purpose, intended audience, and what we want to accomplish. The “experts” chosen as authors for the chapters would be expected to provide the technical details for their topics. John suggested we look at the CAST website for guidance to give to the author teams. This can be found at: http://CAST-Science.org

(3) The remainder of the call was focused on identifying resources to fund Workshop planning and establishment of contracts. A minimum of $90K needs to be committed to the SWCS to move forward. Doug has contacted the ARS, International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). Neil suggested contact DOD as he was at a conference last week on biofuels and DOD expressed an interest in sustainability of feedstocks. Dewayne and Stephanie will visit with Bob Kellogg in NRCS to determine if any funds are available there. Richard Hess will discuss the need with DOE Office of Biomass Products. Susan will contact the EBI Board of Directors. Nathan will contact members associated with the National Corn Growers. Other planning team members are encouraged to help identify funding if at all possible.

Dewayne asked if the planning team was supportive of having the Workshop in the Atlanta area. It was agreed that it was a hub, government per diem rates were available, and the southeast has the highest net primary productivity for feedstock. This makes Atlanta a good location to pursue.

ALL planning team members are encouraged to respond with input to the Wiki site within the next week (http://sustainablefeedstockroadmap.wikidot.com). The next conference call will be toward the end of September.

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Karlen, co-chair

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