RICHARD T. ELANDER
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Recent events are once again highlighting that the United States is overly dependent upon imported petroleum for its energy and chemical feedstock supply. This is particularly true in the liquid transportation fuels and chemical production sectors of our economy. Additionally, the ever-increasing use of petroleum as a feedstock for fuels and chemicals in the worldwide economy is causing growing concerns about the availability and security of future petroleum supplies and the implications of a petrochemical-based economy on global climate change. These factors have resulted in a resurgence of interest in the development and commercial deployment of renewable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective technologies to supply a large fraction of our liquid transportation fuels and chemical feedstock needs. Many of these technologies are now achieving or are rapidly approaching technical and economic viability in the commercial marketplace and are utilizing the most advanced biotechnology, chemical reaction, and engineering tools. In this session, we examine recent advances that are bringing “biorefineries” to commercial reality. The unique aspects of grain-based, lignocellulose-based, and integrated grain and lignocellulose biorefineries will be discussed.