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Bioenergy, Agriculture, and the Chemical Industry

Dr. Michael Ladisch
Distinguished Professor and Director, Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (Lorre)
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Purdue University

Agriculture and the chemical industry will play a major role in the sustainable production of transportation fuels and bioenergy from renewable resources. An emerging bioenergy industry will place a premium on the design and development of manufacturing methods that increase renewable inputs, decrease non-renewable ones, and reduce costs. The growth of this industry will require agriculture to sustainably supply low carbon footprint feedstocks: grasses, crop residues, purposely grown bioenergy crops and woody biomass, and the chemical industry to provide inputs for improving agricultural productivity. If agriculture is able to provide the feedstocks, the potential exists for the emergence of a new industry based on sustainable bioprocessing of cellulosic materials into fuels and chemicals. This talk will address synergies between agriculture and engineering in the manufacture of biofuels from renewable resources and the role of faculty entrepreneurship in building a new industry. Blue ocean opportunities and business models are proposed for a low carbon footprint economy.

Biographical Information

Michael R. Ladisch is Director of the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE), and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, with a joint appointment in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. His BS (1973) is from Drexel University, with MS (1974) and PhD (1977) from Purdue University, all in Chemical Engineering. He is continuing his activities with Mascoma Corporation where he has been Chief Technology Officer since 2007. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Dr. Ladisch has 35 years experience in research in biofuels, renewable resources, bioseparations, and biotechnology. He has authored a graduate textbook (Bioseparations Engineering, Wiley, 2001), and co-authored an undergraduate textbook (Modern Biotechnology, Wiley, July, 2009), as well as numerous publications and patents.